Off the seat of a bicycle
Chapters 40-41 suede-brown/ meeting the mob boss

There was a bike path coursing through the forest preserve, running from Glenview to Lincolnwood. It was about nine miles long from start to finish. The path has been extended since, so I can’t say what it’s like today, but in 1977 it was a fast smooth surface with no cars busting down over the top, save about 6 intersections. The public was in attendance only on the best days of summer, but rarely at night or when it rained, and never when it was cold.

I rode the bike path every day, rain shine snow ice, day, night … it didn’t matter, it was my private racetrack and I knew every bump and groove along the way.

One cold wet day, with the pathway completely empty and nobody in sight, I stumbled headlong into a dangerous, unforgettable situation.

I was riding toward home, coming back from the loop and nearing Glenview Blvd. when I rounded the last curve and popped into the final parking lot. Without warning, I entered a charged meeting between some men up ahead. A man sitting in a car took immediate alarm at my appearance, and both our inquisitive eyes locked on the other.

The fellow was sitting solo in a suede-brown car with a cream top, and his eyes were drilling me like reflective black holes. He was poised to reverse out and race off, and I saw it because, for some reason of fortune, my eyes could see the slightest change in balance inside cars.

Three men stood at suede-brown’s open window. They never turned their heads, and never responded to my presence at all. But instantly my attention was diverted to two more guys wearing suits and standing behind their car 35 feet away from the first group. There were a total of six men: 4 clustered on the left side of the parking lot, and the two suits standing behind their car on the right, and my bike was aimed down the middle of both groups.

The suits reacted immediately. One stepped out to intercept me and the other moved toward the driver’s door of the car. And just that quick, everybody stopped, and the man in the suede-brown car changed his glance and looked at the three fellows standing at his window. It was very quiet as I strode the last yards toward them, and my mind was soaking it all in.

I realized what this was. It was a meeting with the top mob boss in Chicago … I read about him in the paper … and it clicked, the two men in suits were FBI … and the paper wrote that the mob fellow would intentionally drive slow so the FBI would provide protection. And, oh shit, the top mob guy was trying to figure out who I was and why I was there. And believe me, he was reading everything.

I had dropped down and put my hands on the handlebars so nobody would think I was ‘drawing a gun,’ and then while passing, I looked at the faces of the three guys standing at the boss’ window. I absolutely would not have done that except the FBI was there to protect me. Obviously in other countries, it would be different, and at first sight I would’ve wheeled the opposite way and run for the hills, but this was free America and I wanted to see the show.

Except the ticket wasn’t free.

The guys standing at the boss’ window were incredible. They were the epitome of emotionless … like being invisible, but they kept their eyes on the boss who was reading everything through them to see if someone caused this or betrayed the meeting, and there was a huge informational vibration coming through the air. It was a spectacular display of electrical prowess.

Can you imagine the game at this level? But it was for real this time, and I was injecting myself inappropriately. The tiger was walking where he shouldn’t, and poachers were about.

I rode to end of the parking lot but instead of exiting onto Glenview Blvd, I knew dead certain the boss would find out who I was, and in exchange for the information, I arrogantly wanted to look at him too… … it’s just an insatiable curiosity to share with people I am forbidden by social standard to share with, so I made a left turn down a reverse trail.

I rode a complete circle around the parking lot and entered again, from the same direction, and approached the men all over again in a fabulously ignorant move.

This time the tiger’s head went straight in the alligator’s mouth and tickled his tongue, except instinctively I understood not to look at the agents … I knew the situation demanded alliance.

Passing for the second time, I looked into the car’s rearview mirror to see who was there. It was an audacious moment from a fomented mind, and honestly I was expecting to see pure evil, but what I saw surprised me …

… he was looking straight at me with both eyes … it was greed … it was the fiercest greed, but somehow grandfatherly, and he was saying something … and I answered back, ‘oh I can’t help you with that,’ and looked down and rode away.

The best and most powerful people can evoke an answer before you know something’s been asked … and they do it without talking … and that was this man’s genius. There was so much information coming out of him that he let you pick the truth about yourself, and then he read the whole book at a glance.

Those eyes showed a huge head that would drain the life right out of you. He forbid the other men from looking at me. It was total power.

And yeah I rode away for the moment, but it wasn’t over … I hadn’t paid for the ticket, and that would take a couple weeks … and it happened within a mile of the same spot.

Chapter 41             suede-brown’s sentence

The day the ticket came due, I was cycling east on Glenview Blvd, totally unaware, and riding four feet out from the curb, defiantly telling cars to stay away. I hadn’t looked back for a while … and wow … wow … suddenly this car powered next to me at 50-60 mph and missed me by what seemed a quarter inch … I instinctively yelled out in fear … and the car swiftly curved into the outside lane in a smooth heavy rush.

It was him. It was that older model silent-running suede-brown car with a cream top. Dam he snuck up behind me so quiet that my trained ears heard nothing … of course there was a second car making noise in the outer lane that masked his approach … but it was good, as close as you could come and he squeezed himself between the outer car and my bike with the precision of a master driver … and he did it in front of a witness while using his own unique car … knowing it didn’t matter if he skinned me alive …

It was perfect. It was violence; it was the price of admission. It was exactly what I wanted to see. But there was more.

I immediately looked behind to see if any other cars were busting my way, but the road was empty. His handlers were not there that day. And now he was driving away, looking back in the mirror, and we had a powerful exchange. He eyes were shiny and dark, not like before … and he looked like a totally different man; far more regular, and younger, but filled with a vicious black glee.

My eyes shot back at him, ‘what did you do that for?’ But it was a ridiculous question, born of equity, and the answer back was a hard black field from his eyes, saying he was doing it, and this was it … it was a fierce determination saying he could smash over my head and dance in the blaze … and only that violence could scratch the itch inside his hollow body.

You could see the battering he raged on society, and I reacted instinctively to his threat and shot back, ‘I can play that way too,’ and visualized lying up in the trees putting a rifle shot though his windshield, then looked away. But it was pure imagery, and I had no intent.

There was one last exchange from over an eighth mile away as that car rolled fast down the road. He did something and put white cylinders in the middle of his eyes and feigned weakness, and it compelled me to look back, and his eyes were the same black informational mirrors, and he was laughing and asking more than I could understand … he put a location in my mind and when that didn't draw a response, he asked something about the police.

I instantly answered back, ‘never;’ as if I would never go to the police, and his eyes turned a glint blue like I saw the first day … and a moment later I had the overwhelming sensation that he liked me, and it made me comfortable … and he drove out of sight.

And it seemed so ordinary, that I barely thought about it afterwards and never spoke of it to anybody. This is the first accounting of the entire transaction.

You have to figure the ‘revenge’ that day was staged, and that it was no coincidence suede-brown showed up in the same car, near the same location, and no coincidence that his FBI followers were nowhere in sight. He treated them like fools anyway.

Most certainly suede-brown knew my whole situation beforehand since he was in the ‘information business,’ but imagine what he gleaned from the visual-rampage we exchanged … not only was I a stand up guy to a point and wouldn’t call the police … but too … he knew my full mental ability and that I carried respect and honor, but weakness. He knew there was no retaliatory plan; he knew I had no wealth; he knew my relationship with the police since I didn’t laugh or say I had a man inside … and he took a total measure with three actions and two questions.

But I made a measure too. This was no 52-card poker player, he was a world-class chess master playing a high-stakes money game, and could read everything you owned … while giving the impression he could sneak through the bushes at will and manipulate every piece on the board, including the board to splinter over your head.

The only word that captures suede-brown is fierce, but if I had smartly avoided contact, I would never have understood how powerful people concisely measure others without words, yet emanate an aura of likability that allows them to forge alliances of their choosing. I was able to see that powerful people are chameleons spiders … captivating their prey or friend in the charm and fright that power effuses.

… and that’s why filmmakers can never cast a performer that captures the essence of world leaders … because actors cannot duplicate the glance and gesture that those people use to read across situations and people.

What an insight suede-brown let me have into the talents of powerful people … exactly what I was looking for … that he used more than threat … that he manipulated a world of information and compromise … yet …

… I use the word compromise, because even he had limitations … the most glaring being an ego that would never relent, making him ever so vulnerable as his years passed and technology improved.

In contrast to today’s world, suede-brown was a relic of his age, because he was known. Today's Chicago mob boss has federal warrants, but the police don’t know who he is or exactly what he looks like … because things change, and what once worked in Chicago is no longer effective, as bacteria evolve against the medicine.

The police were beginning to notice me in the Chicago suburbs … hell they were in the mob pocket out of Glenview, and probably tipped my whereabouts to suede-brown, but I noticed them looking several times and I had five stops and two drive-bys in less than a year … the socializers were hard at work forcing everybody into a car because that makes ‘bill collection’ easier in the ‘free market’ system.
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