Escape from Donald Trump’s America: A Free Online Novel Written in Real Time, By WC Turck-Part Twenty-one

Escape  from  Donald  Trump’s  America: A Free Online Novel Written in Real Time, By WC Turck-Part Twenty-one

TWENTY-ONE

The Red Line runs north and south between Chicago’s ever taller, ever more crowded Loop and city neighborhoods to the North along the lakefront. A monument to civilization, a a steel and concrete anachronism to a gilded age defined by power and declaration. Most days it is crowded with students and tourists, or the millions who pour into and away from the Loop each working day. It is but one of the great arteries feeding the city’s unstoppable heart.

It was no different as I boarded the train and took a seat beside the door. The phone buzzed in my pocket once more. It was a new text from Sonia.

SONIA

did U see the pic?

ROLAND

This is bad!!!

SONIA

Can’t tell 100%

ROLAND

R U Kidding? I’m making it my new passport photo!

SONIA

Where R U?

ROLAND

Almost home

SONIA

Try not to worry. Call yr dad.

ROLAND

Rather face the electric chair.

SONIA

call him. He’ll know what to do. !!!!

Through the foggy windows of the El Train the city passed in a blur of red brick, a thousand dark windows and the Thunk-ka-thunk of the rails. Addison, Irving Park, Montrose, Wilson, Argyle. I looked around at the faces on the train. Many of them were glued in the palm-sized glow of their cell phone screens. I shrank, should anyone see the photos or videos and recognize me. Quickly I felt a bit foolish for the thought.

By the time I exited the train at the Granville station, on Chicago’s far north side, FOX and the BBC had picked up the video. The platform was crowded and I suddenly felt so exposed, as if everyone had seen the image. There were two cops chatting at the end of the platform. Raising a hand to my face I exited the platform quickly. I hurried down the stairs. The phone buzzed again in my packet just as I reached the street.. It was my father.. I had a mind not to answer, then swept a thumb across the little “accept” icon on the screen. I took a deep breath and lifted the phone to my ear.

“Dad,” the word practically came out as a sigh.

“Jesus, Roland!” he snapped. “Tell me this isn’t… your mother is beside herself.”

“Hang on,” I said, turning up the street.

“Sure, I have all day,” he shot back with the appropriate sort of venom that had come to define our relationship.

“Let me just get away from people,” I hissed.

I crossed the alley and was momentarily warmed by the scent of grilling foods at the Hellas restaurant. Grizzled old Louis, in his white paper cap, was carving Gyro meat in the window.

“Sorry pop, it definitely isn’t what it looks like.”

“Oh good, because it looks like you hit a fucking cop!”

“Okay, well, then it is what it looks like.”

“I never liked that smart ass mouth of yours.”

“The only one I got,” I replied.

“Get with the program, boy. You’re in big trouble. No matter what, you are going to jail. These people…”

“VOICE?”

“They don’t mess around. I hear stories…”

“Dad,” I interrupted, “you don’t know the whole…”

“There is no whole story!” he erupted.

“There is…”
“Stop, goddammit! I’m telling you how cops think, and they won’t give a shit about why. You hit a cop. That makes it personal!”

“So I just turn myself in?”

I could feel the antipathy through the phone, a verification of his disappointment in me becoming a journalist. That was evident now more than ever in the era of FOX News and Rightwing radio. My father laughed darkly.

“Ha! If you try and turn yourself in they will kill you. They’ll lock you up and throw away the key, especially now. If you run, things will only be worse.”

“Sonia and I will go to Canada.”

“You’d never get close to Canada,” he said, then suddenly softened a bit. “Tell me what happened.”

 

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Steep Theatre’s “Linda,” or How to Deconstruct a Woman

Steep Theatre’s “Linda,” or How to Deconstruct a Woman

Intermission. The wife messages me to say she’ll be home from work early. Can I leave at intermission, she asks. She has to get up early the next morning. I probably won’t see her much at all tomorrow. Conundrum.

I am standing across the street from Steep Theatre, an unassuming storefront theatre, beside the Red Line El, at 1115 West Berwyn in Chicago. It’s a beautiful night. I could be home in less than 10 minutes. I am parked close to the theatre. There is always parking near the theatre. Come home, she half pleads, remarking I could watch the rest of the play from some other performance online somewhere. Linda, by British playwright Penelope Skinner played at the Royal Court Theatre in London, as well as New York’s Manhattan Theatre Club.

“But it’s so good,” say, looking back at the theatre, where patrons are chatting, stealing a quick cigarette. “I wish you could have come.”

“Come home,” the wife urges.

I know Linda Wilde, whose portrayal by Steep Ensemble member Kendra Thulin is riveting, sometimes haunting. She is every modern woman who wants to believe that she can have it all, while navigating an unrelenting storm of isms; from Sexism to ageism. In this world, ever misstep holds potentially disastrous consequences. At one point Linda laments that women are every bit as good as men in the same positions, except “we do it walking backwards in high heels.”

There are good laughs here. Linda is also not a feminist dissertation. Great theatre evokes. The intimacy of sharing a space, breathing the same air creates a relationship. We are invited into the painful deconstruction of a woman’s life and dreams. Linda was once safely cocooned within the illusion of having the perfect family, being a perfect mother and a well-respected Marketing exec for a firm selling beauty products. There is an unforgiving world beyond the all too thin veneer of that cocoon. Now older, she is marginalized by younger office nemesis, Amy, rendered superbly by Rochelle Therrien, in denial about finding her own fate caught in a system replete with misogyny and double standard. Linda’s marriage is unexpectedly in crisis, her children in peril. It all crashes together in an astounding scandal. Misteps, over unfamiliar ground in which there is allowed-allowed- no margin for a woman to err.

I’m really torn, I tell the wife. People are filtering back into the theatre. The story is more than plausible, but only too relatable. Just in the first act there are impeccable and unforgettable performances. Omer Abbas Salam is stunning and likeable as the flighty office kid. Caroline Phillips is Linda’s daughter, and secondary school acting hopeful. Bridget serves as something of a sarcastic narrator to what we are all thinking.

“The problem with being a man,” Bridget remarks over a frustrating Shakespeare audition, “they just have so many options.”

I’m still torn. The wife is facing a 12 hour shift the following day. The lights dim briefly in the theatre, signaling an end to intermission. The first act concluded with a breathtaking meltdown by Linda before the whole company. I wanted to cheer, while knowing full well there are going to be ramifications few men would have to face. I want to know if she prevails, or if she succumbs to the blind weight of unforgiving and assumptive patriarchy. What about her family, suddenly tearing itself at the seams? Linda accuses to husband Neil, played by Peter Moore, “I use to be the protagonist of my life!”

I want to know what happens to Thulin’s Linda.

I am torn…

Linda plays through August 18th at the Steep Theatre, 1115 West Berwyn, just off the Red Line in Chicago. For tickets and info visit http://steeptheatre.com/linda

 

 

Escape from Donald Trump’s America: A Free Online Novel Written in Real Time, By WC Turck-Part Twenty

Escape  from  Donald  Trump’s  America: A Free Online Novel Written in Real Time, By WC Turck-Part Twenty

TWENTY

Though the rain had all but subsided the sky seemed ever more ominous from smoke now drifting to mingle with storm clouds as cars were over turned and tires burned around the church. What remained of the rain reflected that sky from ever widening puddles.

The violence caused an exodus among many of the protesters. It continued unabated. Many were terribly shaken and even terrified, some crying as she hurried or staggered away. Among them the injured were mixed. Most were fairly minor, scraps, bruises, cuts and a few broken bones here and there. Several gushed red from gashes to the head or face. Beside a dumpster an elderly gray-haired man had collapsed as his wife begged for help.

There was a heavy State Police presence at Armitage. They appeared fundamentally agitated, in stark contrast to the rank and file city cops. The State cops seemed eager for a confrontation. I detoured around them and headed north along Elston Avenue.

My hand, which had been sort of numb since striking Burgess, had swelled. With it came a dull, pulsing pain that resonated clear to my elbow each time I attempted to flex the reddening fingers.

The phone buzzed several times in my hand, Facebook notifications that came quickly enough to quickly draw my attention. The image of me striking Burgess had already made news feeds. Friends were already posting it to my page. It hardly felt like a badge of honor.

A police cruiser screamed around the corner and for a moment my heart froze. I lowered my head as it turned up Elston Avenue. Once it was gone I allowed myself to breathe again. I knew it was foolish to think they would be searching so soon, but they would be soon enough, of that I could be sure.

I’d made several attempts to reach Sonia and weighed the thought of turning back. A sudden stream of wailing police vehicles and several ambulances put that thought quickly to rest. Still, I couldn’t leave her. The thought that she might be in trouble or worse outweighed any trepidation I held about returning to the protest, or battle. Just then a notification came across my messages. It read:

OK.  C U @ home.

I could at least draw a partial sigh of relief. I nodded and winced, flexing the fingers of my wounded hand. Time would tell if it was broken. I started for home. At Diversey I caught a bus east towards the Red Line El. I studied the faces on the bus around me. None of them seemed to know or care about the calamity at St. Mary’s, just a few miles to the southwest. It might have been another part of the world, but I knew. People were fighting and some were dying on or near the steps of the Holy sanctuary. It seemed somehow sacrilegious on one hand, but on the other absolutely appropriate.

Escape from Donald Trump’s America: A Free Online Novel Written in Real Time, By WC Turck-Part Nineteen

Escape  from  Donald  Trump’s  America: A Free Online Novel Written in Real Time, By WC Turck-Part Nineteen

NINETEEN

I was on the steps a half dozen Black Block anti-fascists, young kids with combat boots, gloves, helmets, goggles and various tattoos charged past into the melee. I recognized one of them from another protest and another story. I grabbed his arm and he wheeled around, raising a fist as if to strike me. Small, but scrappy, with bright curls of golden hair, Jeremy Holland was only too quick to respond.

“Jeremy, It’s me, Roland!” I let go of him and raised my hands defensively,

“Jesus, Roland, don’t grab me like that!” he shouted above the rage and rain and roar. “What are you doing here?”

“I thought this would be a peaceful protest?”

“Peaceful?”

“At least on our side.”

“Roland, there is no such thing as a peaceful protest,” Jeremy replied. Peaceful protests are parades, and parades are for children and clowns.”

“But that’s what the government wants,” I shot back. You’re playing right into their…”

“Look, brother,” Jeremy grabbed my wrist, holding it tight, “you’re an activist for the oppressed. Your heels are at the edge of the cliff, with only you standing between them and the oppressor. Your compromise means death to those you want to save.”

“But you can’t go to war against the state!”

They’re at war with us. If they push, we must push back. We have no place else to go.”

As if to punctuate the point there came a roar and cries as the VOICE armored vehicle loomed above the crush of city cops and protesters. Suddenly it lurched, the police abandoning their struggle lest they be crushed. As for the protesters, there seemed little concern as the vehicle, in great halting, groaning lurches drove directly into the crowd.   Jeremy was already charging towards the truck with dozens more following.

The VOICE truck ground its way forward, without regard for the lives crushed beneath its wheels. In its wake VOICE troopers exploited the gap only to run head first into a wall of Black Block and others. Guns faced bricks, pipes and boards. It was the great equalizer as a wild and violent melee erupted. At first local law enforcement waded in to support the federals, only to be called back by commanders and redirected to aid the dead and dying.

I spotted Sonia at the top of the church steps, trapped as a dozen or so VOICE agents pressed in upon them. But just as I started for her I was clobbered hard from the side. I spun, legs coming up as I landed hard on the hard stone steps. Burgess stood over me, raising his service weapon at me. The look in his eyes was pure murder.

“Strike three,” he growled, finger tightening on the trigger.

At that instant Jeremy Holland appeared from nowhere, throwing himself against burgess, just as the gun went off. The round went high, slapping into St. Mary’s heavy wooden doors. But Jeremy, at five feet nine inches tall and hardly a hundred forty pounds was little match for Burgess. Holland all but bounced off the much larger man. When he came at him again Burgess managed a shot. The bullet slammed into Jeremy’s shoulder, spinning him around. He looked at Burgess with surprise.

Burgess leveled the weapon at Jeremy. This time he couldn’t miss. But I was up. Pulling a punch from somewhere behind me, my fist caught Burgess just at the temple. In the snap of a finger he went down, out cold.

I looked down at him, collapsed at the bottom of the steps and gasped with surprise.”Holy shit.”

I looked up seemingly into a sea of phones and cameras. They’d captured every moment. I knew in an instant what that meant.

“Holy shit is right,” Jeremy replied. He was already pulling me away.

“Are you okay?”

“Forget about me. You have to get out of here and find someplace to disappear.”

“Disappear?”

“You’re a fucking star,” he said darkly. “And not the kind you want to be!”

 

Nothing Without a Company Announces One Week Extension for Not One Batu June 27th – July 28th, 2018

Nothing Without a Company Announces One Week Extension for  Not One Batu June 27th – July 28th, 2018

Jeff Recommended!

Immersive Play by the Lake Exploring the Hawaiian Meth Epidemic

Nothing Without a Company Announces One Week Extension for

Not One Batu

June 27th – July 28th, 2018

CHICAGO, July 10th, 2018 –  Based on the Jeff Recommendation and positive reviews, Nothing Without a Company is thrilled to announce a one week extension of the award winning Not One Batu*, written by Co-Artistic Director Hannah Ii-Epstein, directed by Rachel Slavick, in association with cultural specialist Lanialoha Lee and Aloha Center Chicago. Not One Batu is the first full-length Hawaiian Pidgin-English play produced in Chicago, centered around the meth epidemic in Hawai’i and its impact on families for generations. Originally scheduled to close on July 21st, Not One Batu has been extended until July 28th. Performances take place Wednesday through Saturday at 7pm at Berger Park Cultural Center Coach House, 6205 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago IL. Extension tickets will be available on July 11th at NothingWithoutaCompany.org.

Production photos:

https://drive.google.com/drive/u/3/folders/1PrMRchHOAm6PCaLtGJD_uZLCjO-UKOQm

Photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj9Q06XZB48

Indiegogo fundraiser page:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/not-one-batu-chicago-drama

Synopsis:

Meet Honey Girl: a former meth user, now an expert drug dealer. At Hale’iwa beach park one morning, Honey Girl meets with customers and friends, rival dealers, and her addict mother. Amusing, intimate and occasionally disturbing, Not One Batu follows Honey Girl’s struggle to stay clean in a world turned upside down by meth. The 1st act is an immersive gathering to talk story* with Honey Girl and her crew and enjoy live entertainment by Aloha Center Chicago in the Berger Park Coach House, then audience will move outside to the lake front for the non-interactive 2nd act. This play contains strong language, physical violence, and drug use.

Updated Cast:

The cast features Lelea’e “Buffy” Kahalepuna-Wong, Marie Tredway, Scott Hanada, Bobby Wilhelmson, Jae Renfrow, Kroydell Galima, Heather Jencks, Gloria Alvarez, Tony Rossi, and Ian Voltaire Deanes. Lelea’e “Buffy” Kahalepuna-Wong has been be flown in from Hawai’i to reprise her role as Ma.

Hawaiian Pidgin English:

Pidgin (with a capital P) is the common way of referring to what linguists call Hawai‘i Creole, the creole language that emerged on sugar plantations in Hawai‘i during the middle to late 19th and early 20th centuries.*** It is a mix of the languages spoken by Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese, Puerto Rican and other workers who toiled in the state’s sugar plantations.**** In November 2015, Hawaiian Pidgin English was listed as the official language of the state of Hawaii. To non-Pidgin speakers, it may sound like slang. For example, “dat” means that and “fadda” means father or dad.*****

In the playwright’s note, Ii-Epstein wrote, “After being in recovery of meth for over ten years I had an opportunity to use (I saw it as an opportunity anyway). Instead of hitting the pipe I wrote. I wrote for every addict out there, every person that has used batu, and every person that has known someone that has used batu. I wrote my experiences, my friends experiences, my o’hana’s experiences, and my community’s experiences. I changed names and facts to protect the innocent, and in doing so, I found myself no longer consumed with the burning need to satisfy my addiction. I found myself in a place where I could work through it. Although not one person can be truly free of addition, it’s a choice we make every day to be better. I want the people of Hawai’i to know that our choices matter and our choices affect every single person in our lives.”

The Director Slavick commented on the play, “Hannah Ii-Epstein’s script, Not One Batu, beautifully illuminates the meth epidemic through the eyes of one dealer, her clients, and family in a poorly understood community; the Pacific Islander community in Hawai’i. Fast, funny, and sad, Not One Batu invites us to witness and understand these beautiful/monstrous, hopeful/hopeless people as they navigate the perilous waters of addiction and recovery.”

“When I think about Hawaiian Pidgin English being heard by US Mainlanders for the first time, I wonder if it may feel similar to how Shakespeare’s plays sound. The words have a rhythmic tone, and even though everyone may not know the meaning of each word, the gist comes across thanks to the intention and the relationships in the play,” says Anna Rose Ii-Epstein, the Co-Artistic Director of Nothing Without a Company.

Playwright bio:

Hannah Ii-Epstein (she/her/hers), born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu, recently received her MFA in Writing for the Screen + Stage at Northwestern University. She is a writer of fiction, poetry, screenplays, plays, and musicals. She is a Co-Artistic Director, Board Member, and a Founding Member of Nothing Without a Company (NWaC). Since 2007, over ten of her plays and musicals have been produced by NWaC, About Face Theatre’s Babes on Stage, Fury Theatre’s SAST, Mary-Arrchie’s Abbie Fest, and Nothing Special Production’s Fight Night. Hannah has written for many 24 Hour Fests for NWaC, Silent Theatre, Columbia College Chicago, and Northwestern University. She was awarded 30 under 30 in Windy City Times in 2014. Hannah’s film, Sweet, won Best Film Runner Up in Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project 2015. In 2016 Hannah and her play, Not One Batu, was honored by Hawai’i State Theatre Council Po’okela Awards in the categories of Non-Resident Guest Artist and Overall Play.

Production team:

The creative team includes Ray Goldberg (Production Manager), Christopher Sylvie (Stage Manager), Mark Bracken (Set and Light Designer), Whitney Masters (Costume Designer), Jaq Seifert (Fight Choreographer), Almanya Narula (Assistant Fight Choreographer), and  Val Gerard Garcia Jr. (Dramaturge).

Not One Batu was the 2016 winner of 6 Po’okela Awards, including Overall Play Guest Artist (Non-Hawai’i Resident) (recipient Hannah Ii-Epstein), Featured Female in a Play (recipient Lelea’e “Buffy” Kahalepuna-Wong), and Leading Female in a Play (recipient Danielle Zalopany).

Nothing Without a Company offers student and industry discounts upon request sent to boxoffice@nothingwithoutacompany.org. Ticket prices range from $12.50 to $30.

* “Batu” is Hawaiian Pidgin for methamphetamine.

** “Talk story” means to chit-chat or gossip.

*** “Talking Story about Pidgin,” University of Hawai’i

http://sls.hawaii.edu/pidgin/whatIsPidgin.php

**** “Data Inspires Pride for Pidgin, a Hawaii Language,” Star Advertiser

http://www.staradvertiser.com/2016/02/18/features/data-inspires-pride-for-pidgin-the-language-of-hawaii/

***** Kerry Chan Laddaran, “Pidgin English Now An Official Language of Hawaii,” CNN https://www.cnn.com/2015/11/12/living/pidgin-english-hawaii/index.html

Nothing Without a Company is planting theatre around Chicago with all forms of media to empower self and community through immersive and revolutionary acts of art in site-specific and reclaimed environments.

Website: www.nothingwithoutacompany.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NothingWithoutACompanyChicago

Instagram: www.instagram.com/nothingwithoutacompany

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/NWaCTheatre

Escape from Donald Trump’s America: A Free Online Novel Written in Real Time, By WC Turck-Part Eighteen

Escape  from  Donald  Trump’s  America: A Free Online Novel Written in Real Time, By WC Turck-Part Eighteen

EIGHTEEN

The battle lines were drawn in front of Saint Mary’s Church of the Angels along Hermitage Street on the city’s near north side. The church was iconic, with its massive white dome that could be seen four miles. Apart from that, its last claim to fame was as the setting for an old Steven Seagal movie. But now it had taken on an entirely different profile as a sanctuary for those Hunted by VOICE agents. One of them a young man of Polish extraction had been chased into the church where he literally fell into the arms of a priest and a nun as if it had been written for a novel or some other form of fiction.

The priest did more than order the VOICE agents from the church, they’re weapons trained on him all along. He demanded that they respect the place as a sanctuary. With that a standoff quickly ensued. VOICE demanded the church hand over the young man and all others within the church and gave a 48-hour deadline. That was the rallying cry for thousands waiting to take a stand.

There was a storm brewing that day overhead, as much as on the streets surrounding the church and the rectory. Clouds swelled and rain threatened. The wind swept through city streets adding to the ominous scene developing around Saint Mary’s. It deepened Shadows and added a sense of foreboding, as if the storm had rested control of the hearts of men and women and the ranks of riot police already coalescing in direct opposition.

In only a short time the protesters had organized well. Taking a page from Vietnam and Civil Rights era organizers, they moved offline, where it was far more difficult for the authorities to infiltrate and monitor. Prior to the election some correctly predicted the need to organize away from the internet. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media havens were monitored by intelligence agencies and law enforcement. Organizers built telephone trees with pseudonyms, coded friends lists, hand printed flyers and met in secure places, like basements and apartments and underground clubs. Students held impromptu gatherings, spontaneous meetings and rose upon tables in lunchrooms for speeches and news. While the authorities and the regime could claim to control much of the internet, groups like Anonymous, and a global network of hackers and computer nerds and geeks ran sub-channels and underground internet sites hidden from the prying eyes of the government.

By late morning, just as a light drizzle glistened over everything, their numbers had swelled to more than 5,000, drawing themselves up completely around the church and inside its heavy iron fence. Thousands more had been stopped at the approaches by police.

There was a world within the protest. There was a juggler,  socialists, communists, environmentalists, libertarians, Asians, indigenous people, transsexuals, Gays, an elderly Thai woman with a trained parrot on her shoulder and a guy with a shiny black boot on his head. There were working class people, the homeless, housewives, aging hippies, students, true conservatives, flaming liberals, revolutionaries and union workers. It was a place were everyone could come together under the same banner, despite cosmetic ideological differences, to stand for the ultimate promise-promise- of America.

Throughout the morning they gathered before the high steps leading to the cathedral. Young men and women filled with idealism, swelling with patriotism for a country still only dreamed of, gave speeches to the crowds below. Others, maybe two dozen or more, had chained themselves together, and then to the door where they would not be moved at least not easily.

All this was less for the young man or the other immigrants taking refuge inside the church. They were merely the rallying point, the faces and names representing far more than many thousands more of their immigrant brothers and sisters, but of the very soul and promise of their nation. They were defending an America once defined by mercy and compassion and hospitality without condition. They cried and carried signs that said things like Hate Has No Home Here Sanctuary City or No One Is Illegal. They came by the thousands despite the rain despite the threats and harassment by law enforcement. They came despite the fear of retaliation and retribution by the government. They came to be together and a stand as one.

Sonya and I had walked the better part of a mile, crossing the river and then climbing through a chain-link fence with dozens maybe hundreds of others beneath a highway overpass. Emerging from the shadows we found police waiting for us as if they could reasonably stem the tide of humanity streaming towards St Mary’s. They battled and chased and grabbed a number, but many of us pushed through the ranks of police. We ran breathless down the alley for two blocks, chased here and there by police officers in riot gear, tasers and truncheons and heavy boots who could hardly hope to keep pace with young people in sneakers and sandals and Birkenstocks.

At Paulina, hardly a block from the church, emerging from the alley, we were met by a line of officers marching towards the church. We burst across their unsuspecting lines. They grabbed at a girl, catching her by the sleeve. Suddenly there was a melee in the street as other protesters were grabbed and wrestled to the ground for arrest. Suddenly and without warning, from between houses, a dozen young men and women dressed in black, their faces covered wearing helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, boots and gloves rushed at the police. Like a wedge, they slammed through their ranks with such force and speed as to catch the officers off guard. The protesters were wrestled away. Outmanned and overwhelmed, the city cops momentarily thought better of chasing after us.

I’d seen these protesters before in Black. They were the much-feared and even more misunderstood Black Block, although they were not the violent anarchists often portrayed by the media. Instead they were more a tactic, a way of overcoming the brutality when the authorities attempted to interfere and disrupt even the most peaceful protest. Even I had experienced that once before protesting against the war back in 2004. Thousands of protesters marching peacefully along a designated protest route were suddenly herded onto Michigan Avenue where police had set up fences where they corralled or attempted to corral hundreds people. The black Bloc seemed to appear out of nowhere breaking through the fences and the police ranks and allowing dozens to escape, myself included. And I had seen them at the NATO protests in 2011, fighting back as the police drove protesters and reporters into plate glass windows without regard for safety merely as a means to show force against otherwise peaceful protesters.

Even here I was in awe watching as the black clock cleaved through the disorganized police rank with stunning violence. There was a molten liquid quality to their tactics. Momentarily they overwhelmed and enveloped the police, isolating them from the protesters they had grabbed.

Sonia and I followed the others still at a run through the alley the final block before we emerged into a sea of humanity along Hermitage. The police were arrayed in Long ranks in riot gear upfront, with more uniformed officers massed behind them. Police on horseback were also dressed in riot gear, as if they were ready for war.

Just across Cortland Street better than a hundred VOICE agents were staged in a small lot. Several massive black armored vehicles stood ready. Their demeanor was palpably different from the city cops. It was dark and ominous. VOICE was tensed like a coiled spring, pensive like a pack of rabid animals. I could see Burgess perched on the lead vehicle, which seemed like some great mechanical Beast, belching black clouds of exhaust, it’s rumbling engine roaring at times above the noise of the crowd.

Events began to happen quickly. The rain drove in sheets. Among the protesters was a fatal recognition. They held no illusions of the brutality of the foe that faced. Their fight was against VOICE not the local authorities. The police seemed to comprehend that, drawing their ranks ever tighter as she became increasingly trapped between two powerful forces poised for battle.

Almost the moment Sonia and I reached the church there came pop pop pop and bangs as tear get gas canisters erupted and exploded with bright flashes in great clouds of smoke. A few brave souls threw the canisters back among the police, their smoky white trails arcing high overhead and bouncing amid the ranks of officers.

“Look!” Sonia explained noticing the tear gas.

There was an excitement to it all, and though everyone knew the stakes, one could hardly escape the incredible energy. The protesters surged in defiance and met a still wall of police. The two great masses seemed to heave to and fro. It was only a matter of time before one side or the other broke. Meanwhile, Burgess and the other VOICE agents waited, observed. They seemed content to let both sides exhaust themselves.

Escape from Donald Trump’s America: A Free Online Novel Written in Real Time, By WC Turck-Part Seventeen

Escape  from  Donald  Trump’s  America: A Free Online Novel Written in Real Time, By WC Turck-Part Seventeen

SEVENTEEN

America was always an activist Nation. It began as an activist Nation. Every decent fight the nation undertook, whether it was to free the slaves, women’s right to vote, civil rights, Gender rights, these were all the hard-fought battles and sacrifices, not of activists, but of individual Americans standing for one another. The Cornerstone of American activism, the call to confront and resist injustice lay within its Constitution ,while too often law and the rule of it failed too often to address, penalized the victim of oppression or worse, stood solidly with the oppressor. But that same system also allowed avenues and opportunities for redress of grievances and to correct discrimination. The system was both a handicap to redress, as well as a filter protecting the minority from the tyranny of the masses…

That all changed on a February afternoon in Washington D.C., at the end of the American Republic. A hand on a Bible and hollow words before the nation were betrayed with a cynical smirk. Too many of its citizens, massaged for years on a belligerent diet of division succumbed to their darker souls, fear of foreigners, fear of crime and fear of one another. They were deluged with anecdotal, invented and often exaggerated claims of a dangerous world beyond America’s sacrosanct and heavenly ordained national boundaries. The truth was that the world, shrunken beneath the internet’s artificial magnifying glass, was far and away safer than it had ever been in human history.

It was the thieves and looters, the grifters and global used car salesmen peddling the morality of avarice who had stolen power. They ran amok with it, rampaging, slamming closed the windows of transparency and laughingly upturning the tables of justice. Along with their hysterical and cavorting media the populace showered in their deluge of fear, turned against neighbors and family, surrendered the true tenants of their holy places and became a people besieged only by ghosts and construction-paper illusions.

In the end America abandoned itself. It bickered over the vote, amongst itself and most especially over endlessly spilled milk which no one seemed inclined to address, regardless of the stench. The passion of those early protests bled away, staggered by stoicism, crippled by cynicism and butchered by defeatism. That was not an indictment entirely against the people, for surely the regime and their cohorts played a substantial role, capped and sealed by police who now became the Capos of America’s modern day Auschwitz. Walls may keep people out, but then again, every prison and gulag maintains their own walls.

When would the people stand and fight this cancer which had seized control of the nation? Reliance of the “system” whatever that meant, the wisdom of congress or the constitution were no longer options. The system had broken down. Congress was compliant, the dissidents eliminated from their posts. As for the constitution, it was a vague and incomplete document, which while describing separations of power, also allowed for the rise of abuse and tyranny. When? When would people proclaim enough? That day would come on a rainy Saturday morning in Chicago.