crime story
A smoking cup of Joe

Location: Chicago

Time: 9:35am CST

Date: Classified

Our Hero: MojoFiction (What? It’s our story and we’re the hero.)

Everything you are about to read is true.

Ever have one of those days where you feel like you’re sitting around forever, waiting for something exciting to happen? That’s right, they’re called workdays.

On this particular workday, Mr. Fiction glanced at the computer clock to discover it was already 9:30am. He realized with mounting horror that somehow the office had sucked two hours of work out of him, but he had not yet ventured down the street to a certain coffee-house for an iced tall caramel macchiato (if you think that’s wimpy, than we really meant a double-shot espresso). How could this have happened, he wondered? And why was he still working on a desktop computer? It’s like the Flintstones around here, only without the comedy.

After a quick word with I.T. to requisition some modern technology, Mr. Fiction pieced together a plan of action to secure his morning coffee drink using only his stapler, a file cabinet drawer label, and a Styrofoam cup from the break room. This worked out well because he needed to staple some important pages together, finally label that drawer, and throw out yesterday’s empty coffee cup. But after that he scanned the office, saw no one looking his way, and made a dash for the elevator to the ground floor.

In the lobby, the highly trained, professionally disciplined security staff at the front desk watched our hero casually walk by and out the door because that’s basically their job and they knew the guy anyway and so it’s not important to the story, so just forget it.

MojoFiction stepped outside into the muggy Chicago air – his biological caffeine clock ticking away madly. He scoped the area for his destination, but all around him an unexpected sea of teenagers funneled down the street, confusing him with their yappity-yap and their Dunkin Donuts coffee that they probably bought at the train station on their ride in. @#$!ing Lollapalooza. Can’t they take that thing out to the suburbs? Finally, he got his bearings and made off down the street towards one of the fifteen coffee shops that exist within a two-block radius of his office.

That’s when the @#$! went down.

Parked cars of every type lined the street that morning, some illegally parked and already receiving tickets. Half way down the street a taxi stopped just in front of a mysterious, black SUV, presumably to drop off a passenger. Suddenly, the driver’s-side door of the SUV opened and a man in a dark suit and sunglasses popped out and politely told the taxi driver to park it somewhere else. What was that SUV doing there? And who was this security guy who met every possibly security-guy stereotype, including the earpiece? Unfortunately, he wasn’t talking and just gave MojoFiction a dirty look because Mr. Fiction kept staring at him.

Without any answers, our hero turned south, walked down the street and to the corner to cross over. But just as he got to the corner, another black SUV rocketed through the intersection, going east-west. Two shiny, black SUVs within a block of each other at the same time downtown? Surely, something nefarious was about to happen. Thinking quickly about how stupidly he was thinking, Mr. Fiction crossed the street to see what was going on with the new SUV.

The vehicle came to a screeching halt immediately after crossing the intersection, pulling over to the curb and NOT paying for parking. Then, no less than eight men wearing dark suits and sunglasses burst from the vehicle. One of the men popped the trunk and let the others reach in to grab backpacks, which were hardly color-coordinated with their suits. Then, with practiced military precision, the men congregated on the sidewalk and, with a nod from the guy who popped the trunk, they all turned and … rushed headlong into Starbucks.

MojoFiction quickly followed because, after all, he was going to Starbucks and now there would potentially be eight other people in line ahead of him, which might constitute a criminal act.

Inside Starbucks, the eight well-dressed interlopers stood in line ahead of our hero, making him wait at least another five minutes. They ordered an assortment of lattes and frappaccinos, with the apparent ring leader ordering a cup of the Blonde Roast. Then they went on their merry way, talking, laughing, and drinking fancy coffee drinks as if nothing had happened. Their training had paid off and the mission was a success. Coffee acquired. And right under the noses of the unsuspecting public.

It was a professional operation all the way and, to be honest, we’re not even sure it’s safe to blog about it. After all, they got away clean. But if we had parked anywhere downtown without immediately paying the meter, we would have received a parking ticket in, like, 10 seconds. These guys were obviously well-connected, which means this case goes all the way to the top. …Which is pretty much standard operating procedure in Chicago.

If you never hear from MojoFiction again, be on the lookout for a covert coffee-drinking security detail descending on a coffee-house near you. If you see them, run the other way, because if you don’t, you’ll have to wait in line that much longer for your coffee.

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