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.