Chicago Warriors: The Consultation

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I walked into the ER at Little Company Hospital and spotted my friend at the desk.
"Hey Jeff, how are you tonight?"

"Pete, it's only ten o'clock what are you doing here so early? Did you bring in a shooting victim?"
"No, I don't start my shift for a couple of hours. But I was wondering if you might have a minute to take a look at my shoulder."

"Sure, no problem. You came in at a good time-there's a lull in the action. What's the problem?"

I explained to him that I had pain there the past couple of weeks whenever I bench-pressed. He did a hands-on exam then ordered an x-ray. While I was waiting to go to x-ray we talked guns. Jeff was a gun nut and he loved police work. He owned several handguns and an M-4 Assault Rifle. I had taken him shooting on several occasions, allowing him to fire the same qualification course that Chicago cops shoot. He loved every second of it.
"Jeff, let me ask you about something. Are you familiar with anorexia?"

"Sure, I'm a doctor remember?"
"Yeah, yeah. But seriously, what causes an otherwise healthy person to become anorexic-is it caused by medication or an allergic reaction to something?"
"Well, it's complicated. It can have a genetic component, meaning someone can have a predisposition for the disorder, or it can be the result of a traumatic incident that leaves the person with little control over his or her circumstances. When that's the case, people feel a sense of anxiety. One of the ways that they try to ameliorate that anxiety is to try to gain control over at least one thing in their lives. More often than not if it's a woman, and 90% of those that suffer from anorexia are women, she will turn to her weight. That is something so personal and private that when she is able to gain control of it, it erases some of the uneasiness that she feels.
Unfortunately, when the numbers on the scale start to go down, it becomes an addiction. Then that person must continue to lose weight in order for them to feel any happiness or success. When they stop losing, they become depressed. Depression will sometimes cause them to pick up other addictions like alcohol or drugs. It's a downward spiral that is difficult to stop."
"What are the signs Doc?"

"They're fairly noticeable symptoms. They obsess about food and limit their intake; they exercise a lot, even when they are sick. They become secretive. They may pull away from family and friends, and make excuses not to eat around other people. They may even lie about their eating habits."
"Do you know someone that's anorexic Pete?"
"I guess I do-my wife..."

"I'm sorry to hear that. I will tell you this-it's rare that someone who is anorexic can beat it without professional help. If you want, I can refer her to a specialist in the field."

"I may take you up on that Jeff. To be honest, I just realized what has apparently been fairly obvious to others around me. I don't know what's happened to Beth, but I'm determined to find out. When I do I'll get back to you for that referral. Thanks Jeff-you're a true friend."
"No thanks needed. C'mon, let's get you up to x-ray."
I finished up with the x-ray people, and thanks to Jeff they read them right away. No muscle tears, just a strain that required rest and aspirin. I had a few minutes to kill so I made my way to the Chapel at the hospital. I took a pew in the front row.

"Dear Lord, you told us in the Bible,' ask and you shall receive'. I come as your humble servant and ask that you will give me the wisdom and understanding that I need to help Beth. I pray for forgiveness for having been so self-absorbed in my own life that I failed to minister to my wife's needs. Please continue to watch over and bless us. Amen."

Fifteen minutes later I met Joe at the station.
"Pete, let's roll. Mac took a call from Blaz-she's got some info for us on whoever's been ripping off the johns."
"That's great brother, I could use some good news right now."
"Is it anything that I can help you with?"
"No. I guess the full impact of Beth's condition just hit me. I spoke with Father Mike and Dr. Grossman about her. They confirmed what you and Susan thought...she's showing the symptoms of anorexia. Joe she must be feeling so lonely... Why didn't she come to me with whatever it is that's been bothering her?"

"I thought that it was the ‘baby thing'."
"I don't know Joe...maybe it's that, maybe not."
We pulled out of the station lot and headed east on 63rd Street toward Western Avenue. I made a right on Western and pulled over about halfway down the block. I didn't want to heat the corner up for the trade. Blaz spotted us and took her time making her way over to our location. She slipped into the back seat.
"How y'all doin' tonight?"

"We're good Blaz. The desk sergeant gave us a message that you called, what's up?"

"It's some bad shit man. Look here...I'm over by the tracks last night ‘bout nine o'clock takin' care o' some old white dude in his big Caddy. I just get into it when dis ride pulls up-I thought it was ya'll-the pohleece. I can't hardly see wiff the lights shining bright at us. ‘For I know what's hap'nin, dude yanks open the doh and tells my trick to give em all his money!"
"What did he look like Blaz?"

"The bad guy!"
"I'm gettin' to that man. Anyway, my trick is an older dude, he scared and ain't movin' fast ‘nuff, so the dude smacks him upside the head wiff a gun! He put a knot upside his head like I ain't never seen."
"Blaz, please, what did he look like?"
"That's what I'm tryin' to tell ya'll-it was the Devil Man!"

I looked over at Joe and said, "I thought we got reports that it was pimps ripping these guys off."
"Man, my pimp ain't gonna rip no customer off-they ain't never gonna come back if he do."

That made sense to me. The ladies would never get repeat customers if they couldn't be trusted.

"Blaz, one more time, what did the Devil Man look like?"
"Just like Deelilah say-he a white dude wiff slick back black hair and he got dat ring. An' his ride is that Black Enscalde like I tol' you b'foe."

"You have made our day Blaz, this is great information." I reached into my pocket to give her some cash...
"Hey man, you ain't heard it all."
"There's more?" Joe said.

"Hell yeah...I got the number on his tag man! It was easy to remember-DBS 1-and it had dat handicap chair on it."
I pulled out a twenty-dollar bill, but quickly added another one to it. Handing it to her as she began to leave I said, "Blaz, we're going to be concentrating on this area for a while. The Devil Man knows that he's got an easy score here so I'm positive that he'll be back. Do you feel safe working here now that you know he's around?"
"Baby, he ain't gonna hurt us. We his meal ticket man, ‘sides, Dee already took care o' him, she know what he like."

"Okay. We'll be around the rest of the night."
"I'm on'y givin' it ‘bout one more hour. I gotta get home to my baby."

"Alright, we'll stay close for another hour. Will you be out here again tomorrow night?"

"Baby, you know we ain't got no life. My man spect me to work ever' day. Don't get no days off like you pohleece, lessin we's sick."

"Okay, we'll see you tomorrow. Blaz...thanks."
"Hey man y'all doin us a favor. Devil Man's a sick dude."

 Next: The Confession

Previous: The Hammer


John Wills spent 2 years in the U.S. Army before serving 12 years with the Chicago Police Department (CPD). He left the CPD to become an FBI Special Agent, working organized crime, violent crime, and drugs.  John Wills is an author of Chicago Warriors: Midnight Battles in the Windy City published by

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