If you missed Westside Story – On The Road 75 years later – Part 3, consider clicking on the colorful (page approved) link to catch up.
At the end of Part 3, I was hoofing it across the sandy beach when my escape was blocked by a 6’ cyclone fence with three strands of barbed wire on top. It might have been electric barbed wire for all I know. Remember, this is Chicago.Cartoon: SWS.
In a split second several thoughts raced through my mind, “I can’t get over the fence…I am trapped. I am doomed to die in Chicago.
As I continued to scan the “beach of death” searching for an escape, like a bunny looking for a rabbit hole, I spotted a fence section to the right where the local juvenile delinquents had removed the barbed wire. I landed at the base of the fence with both feet like I was bouncing on a trampoline and with a blood curdling scream vaulted up and over the fence, landing on the other side.
As I slid over the top, the fence ripped four long tears in my shirt, which also left four long red marks on my chest. I am still amazed that the fence did not rip my chest open. No serious injury, but I did have to buy a new shirt.
The two grease-balls chasing me were too drunk and could not match my motivation when it came to leaping over a fence in a single bound. A witness driving down the highway later told me the guys chasing me tried but just could not get over the fence.
In an effort to avoid an early meeting with the grim reaper, I ran across Michigan Avenue which is like running across ten lanes of our I-5 freeway. The scene from above looked like a giant foosball game with me ducking cars, trucks and tractor trailer rigs.
I made it safely into the park on the other side of the highway. My friend, Bob Grout, who had flagged down a Chicago police cruiser, got the cops to rescue me. We four drove back to the beach.
We picked up Bob’s Army pal who had escaped the muggers. Fifty years later, no one can remember his name.
The last guy out was Jim Singer. Jim lost his silver Timex watch and a bunch of teeth in the rumble. The slime-balls hit Jim in the face with a 40 ounce beer bottle. Jim’s altered dental work made it mighty difficult for him to be included in our end-of-summer Kemper Scholar group photo.
As the action continues, we race back to the park. After turning the corner we yelled, “There are two of them in the parking lot.” I admit we did not actually use the pronoun them. I believe we selected a more colorful term that can be found in a list of words thought to be too coarse for polite society.
Chicago’s finest grabbed these two pukes before they could jump in their sled (giant car) and escape.
The muggers said the four of us were lying and to quote, “We don’t know nuttin about nuttin.” As we all stood near the suspects’ vehicle, one of the cops searching their car found Jim’s Timex watch under the front seat. The Timex watch took a mugging, and kept on ticking.
To the Chicago Police this piece of evidence meant we were telling the truth. The cop conducting the car search looked angry. Clutching the watch in one hand, he used his free hand to deliver a rabbit punch to the back of the suspect’s neck. The thief never saw it coming, but we did. It looked like the punk’s head was going to roll off into the gutter.
Decades later when I became a police officer I realized the big city knuckle dragging Chicago cops were what we call “old school”.
The two hoodlums went to jail. Jim was given the chair; the dentist chair, not the electric chair. In the end, Jim served more time at the dentist than the punks served in jail.
The two reprobates refused to rat out their three other gang members.
I realize my Liberal friends may be upset with my judgmental descriptors such as thugs, human garbage, human rejects, slime-balls and pukes and to you I apologize. My Liberal friends prefer descriptors such as misguided youth, youth with potential, children in need or the future of America.
Here’s the deal. If someone tries to kill me on the beach, I will call them anything I want.
In Part 6, after a stranger, possibly connected to the Mob, comes looking for us, Jim and I take it on the lam, hiding out up north in a safe house. But wait, what about Part 5? You’ll see.