Page 37 - Pat's Tavern
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Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. CraneThe VictimMarquette Road, or 66th Street as we sometimes called it, was a boulevard that ran straight through Woodlawn, Chicago, for at least a mile. It had long stretches of apartment buildings on either side and these created what one might say was a canyon. Running on either side of the street was grass and some trees that went from the curb to the sidewalk. That set the stage for what we would sometimes do and that was to chase and then beat up the “Victim.”The only thing was that the victim was not really attacked, but a part of the ruse. In effect, he had to be a pretty good actor. He had to lay on the ground and lift his legs and cover his head with his arms in order to protect himself from feigned deadly blows administered by his cohorts. The whole drama was played out in order to attract the attention of innocent bystanders. Once the victim started running we started yelling and chasing after him. After we knocked him down, the beatings began while the “victim” yelled and pleaded for help. this prompted apartment house windows to fly open and people hollering down, “Let they boy alone,” or some such thing. We would then yell back in our own “Street thug” way, “Mind your own business” or “shut up.” One time an apartment house door flew open and a guy in a tee shirt who was all muscle and with a crew out came running at us. This caused us to run down the street and around the corner to get away from him. As he reached the victim, he bent down and helped him up and asked him if he was alright. When the victim said that he was, he immediately broke loose and came running after us. This left the big guy standing in the grass yelling after the victim, “No, no, don’t go that way.” The fear being that we would only catch the victim and beat him again.Another time, a middle aged lady who was carrying an umbrella with a spiked end started poking and slashing and jabbing at us while sticking out her left arm and backing the victim against a building wall in order to protect him. In the meantime, we tried to reach and grab at the victim while yelling, “Let us at him.” All the time the victim was standing behind her laughing. After a while, we relented and walked away. Mrs. America or Wonder Woman had saved the day and she probably went home and told her family the hero that she truly was. With the sound of approaching sirens drawing closer, we decided to call it a day. As I thought back, I began to realize how some people are willing to risk their own safety or well-being to rescue and protect their fellow man.37

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