Chicago Warriors: The Devil Man

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Pulling out of the parking lot of the "The Lawn" on their first night as Tac guys, Pete and Joe figured they would keep an eye on the area that Mac had alerted them to previously. The intersection of 63rd & Western Streets was a high traffic area; both streets were main arteries for city traffic.

At night, the area around the intersection attracted a mix of folks for different reasons. There were lounges and all-night restaurants, some of which were mostly of the one star variety. Lots of seedy characters and street people emerged like fireflies after the sun went down. It's not unlike many big cities in America today. Some neighborhoods take on two different personalities. By day, the working class folks and business owners go about their normal activities. Once the "9 to5ers" go home a sub-culture claims the turf for their own nefarious business.

Prostitution is one of those elements of the sub-culture that has been an integral part of society for ages. The practice pays no mind to laws, policies, and norms put in place and followed by most of us. An enduring "profession," it is unfettered by the attention given to it by the law. The irony is that hookers and cops have co-existed for years, regardless of laws-local, state, and federal. A quid pro quo exists in their unlikely alliance. Hookers need the cops to protect them from johns that would stiff them for their "fee." They also depend on the cops to intercede if a pimp goes too far in disciplining them for perceived disrespect, or attempting to withhold any monies from them.

Since these "ladies of the night" know most everything that is happening on the street, befriending one, or having one as a" hip-pocket informant," allows a cop to get info on the bad guys that he wouldn't normally be able to get. Hip-pocket informants have existed for a longtime in police work. They are unofficial informants-no paper work exists for the 10 or 20 dollars that a cop will give a person for useful information. Most times the money comes from the cops' own pocket, thus the term hip-pocket.
It's quicker and less complicated than going through official channels. In exchange, the cop may look the other way when a lady is "on the stroll", or may let them "walk" instead of arresting them for their transgression.

The downside is that most of the hookers are on drugs, and some of the intelligence they provide sometimes hardly qualifies as such. Regardless, a good cop cultivates informants-it's still the best way to know who the players are and to make collars.

Sliding their unmarked Chevy into a parking spot on 63rd St, Pete and Joe were able to watch a couple of ladies at work. While they were watching, they were rewarded about forty five minutes later when a car pulled over to the curb near the two women. After a brief exchange one of them got into the vehicle and it pulled away.

"Joe, let's head over there and see what's up."

"Okay, no question about it-they're definitely working this area. Mac was right."

Pete pulled the unit into the curb where he and Joe got out. Pete and Joe, although in civies, were clearly identifiable as cops. They both wore their "Stars" on their belts next to their weapons.

"Police Officers," Joe said in an authoritative voice. "I'm Officer O'Hara, and this is my partner, Officer Shannon."

"Sorry officers, I'll move-I don't want no trouble."
"What's your name?" I asked her as I eyeballed her up and down. No weapons on this gal-she barely had enough clothing on to be legal in public.

"Blaz. Please officers just let me go and I won't be out here no ‘mo tonight. I'm gonna be straight up with ‘yall, I'm on probation for drugs, if I get busted again judge say he gonna lock me up. I got a ‘lil baby at home that need me."

"Put the cuffs on her Joe."

We cuffed her and put her in the back of our unit, drove down Western Avenue for about half a mile and then pulled over. We didn't want to "heat the area up"in case we wanted to continue working it later.

Joe turned around to the now sobbing hooker. "Listen, we're going to run your name through records. If you're not wanted on any beef, maybe we can work something out here. Give me your info straight up Blaz, no street jive"
A few minutes later, the computer terminal showed that she had no outstanding warrants, but that she was indeed on probation.

"Alright Blaz, you were straight with us-you're clean, but you are on ‘pro.' Let's talk. What can you give us that would justify giving you a play tonight?"

"I ain't got too much really, we only been out here maybe a couple a weeks now. But I can tell you what been goin ‘round on the street."

"Okay," said Joe. "You tell us what you've got and we'll see if we can let you walk on it or not."

"Well...'bout two weeks ago my sister, Deelilah, was tricking with me and had a car date wiff some white dude. He drops her back after about 20 minutes...she was scared! She say dude tol' her that he an' a black dude been bustin into white folks' homes takin' all they computers and what not, and then she say dude tol' her he capped one cuz he not movin' fast enough. She say he was laffin ‘bout it."
Pete and Joe looked at each other with the same thing going through their had to be the home invasion gang working in Morgan Park

"What did this guy look like? What kind of car was he driving? I need more," I said.

"She didn' say much ‘bout em...cept his hair was slick back and greasy wiff long sideburns. Had a devil ring."

"Deelilah say he had a ring on his finger wiff a devil on it, that what made her scared first."
Joe looked at her and said, "We need to know the car...what kind of car?"

"Dee don't say nuffin ‘bout it, but I ‘member when she got in it-it was a black Enscalade."

"You mean Escalade, a Cadillac Escalade?" Joe asked.
"Yeah, that what I said-a Enscalde."

"Okay Blaz, that's good stuff." I handed her twenty bucks and told her that she was good to go for tonight, but that she should go back and talk with "Dee" to nail down some more details on this guy.

"Thanks officers. I sure dint want to get locked up tonight. I owe y'all."

We took her out of the car, uncuffed her, and told her, "We're going to be working this area a lot from now on. If you want to stay right with us, you need to get me as much as you can on the ‘Devil Man'."

"I like dat-the Devil Man! I'll do that y'all, thanks again."

She made her way back to her corner.

"Oh man Pete, this is a big break. We've got to stay on her-make sure that she doesn't drop the ball on this one."
"Yeah, folks like her have short attention spans." We drove off down Western Avenue content with our first contact with the ladies "Hey Pete, can I ask you something?"

"About what?"

Joe turned to me and said, "The other night at Palermo's...I noticed that Beth hardly touched her pasta. Has she been feeling okay?"

"I think so...she hasn't complained about anything. Why?"
"Well, don't get mad at me or Susan, but we were discussing Beth on the ride home after dinner. You know that Susan got her nursing degree at St. Xavier before we got married."

"Yeah, Joe I know. So?"

"Well, Susan thinks that Beth might have an eating disorder, maybe anorexia, or bulimia. She looks awfully thin."

"Wow...she said that? I guess that I haven't really noticed, but now that you mention it, she does seem to be getting thin. I just assumed it was from her running program. This past year she's been running around Xav's campus at night before I leave for work. I thought that she should use the treadmills inside, I mean we're both members there, but she said she prefers being out in the fresh air."

"Pete, something else, the last few times we've all gone out together, not only does she not eat, but she seems to be pounding down the drinks."

"Are you serious? You guys think that she might be an alcoholic and an anorexic?"

"I'm not saying anything Pete, other than Susan is concerned about Beth's behavior. Her nursing education tells her that she exhibits signs for both problems. I just think that you should keep your eye on her. You know that we love you both."

"Oh man...I've been so wrapped up in my own world-school, midnights, working out.... I've been pressuring her lately about having a baby too, and she has been unwilling to even talk about it. Thanks Joe. I have to do something quick; I can't let this go on. If you and Susan are right about this, there's something wrong in her life that I need to help her with."

"So you're not mad?"

"Joe, you and I are like brothers, we're family. If you didn't tell me, then I would be mad!"

"Thanks. Joe promise me that you and Susan will pray for Beth...and that you'll ask the Father to give me the wisdom and counsel to discover what she needs to get past this."
"Pete, we pray for you both every day already, but we'll add that intention."

"Thanks brother. I love you guys."

     Next:  Home Invasion

Previous:  Beth's Secret

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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