Off the seat of a bicycle
Chapters 40-41 suede-brown/ meeting the mob boss
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.
cold wet day, with the pathway completely empty and nobody in sight, I
stumbled headlong into a dangerous, unforgettable situation.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Chapter 41 suede-brown’s sentence
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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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