blood on the streets
the village smokehouse was at that hour a belching furnace of over-served testosterone and tight quite-likely-teenage minidresses, spilling its magma and ash all over middle street. wending ones way through the knotted crowds of young lust was an oft-amusing exercise in patience and personal navigation, as the unsteady posture and gaits of all these prostitots and their would-be suitors made the pathways between them an ever-shifting puzzle most resembling a giant game of sidewalk frogger. i was thinking it was business as usual, observing the smokehouse' prior record of repeated alcohol serving violations, but i wasn't inclined to want to spoil the party by diming what had been, to that point, an urban nuisance best left to the neighbors and the patrol cops to decide if of which they'd had enough. (though the thought that the police were likely to be necessary was right there in the front of my mind).
in the time it took me to walk from there past the little park where all the empties always turn up in the morning, (maybe a few dozen yards), an unmarked cruiser had already been summoned, turning the corner from central onto middle with a quite potentially dangerous in and of itself purpose, racing up the cobblestones in a roar of V8 engine and rumbling tires, straight into the center of the maelstrom. (i guess it says a lot about me and my time living in DTL that it didn't prompt me to turn my head around to see why--i quite knew why--not to mention the extreme noise that preceded the riot that would have made its sounds indistinguishable). by the time i reached the back of the td bank and ran into two friends returning home from the back page, and then turned to follow their wide-eyed gaze back from whence I came, three more marked cruisers had converged on the smokehouse from the other direction--two traveling the wrong way down palmer and up middle to get there. at least one other marked unit (it was getting a bit difficult to keep count) closed in from central street, and my returned gaze back down one of the most picturesque and quiet, quaint streets in downtown lowell, or anywhere around for that matter, became full of the grotesque sights of a beautiful summer evening gone very, very bad.
most striking was a handcuffed man in the middle of middle street, with blood pouring from wounds to his head (of unknown origin--i hadn't been watching, i had been walking the other way). the police were talking to him, and he was alert, even if he was profoundly woozy from drink and from, my presumption, his head either hitting a wielded bottle or the pavement. he was extremely bloody, and his splattered trail up the sidewalk to his current position in the middle of the street was clear enough that no CSI would have been necessary to follow it. the blood was everywhere. it became clear as the three of us navigated back through the madding crowd of confused, drunk and disorderly to the point of caricature smokehouse patrons, that mayhem was not limited to the cases corralled and restrained by the cops doing their yeoman's duty on the street. blood was on the sidewalk. blood was on the cobblestones. blood was on the walls of the buildings beside, and spattered onto the cars parked there as well.
my friends' comments? "it's crazy like this most weekend nights we walk home"... "if we walk up merrimack we get the crowds spilling out of hookslides, and when we choose to walk up middle street instead we get this sort of thing from the smokehouse".
so the cops did their jobs. they were there within an instant, and in reassuring force. i'm expecting they will further do their jobs to show up at the license commission meeting and recount for the commissioners their reports. anyone interested to wager what the consequence to the smokehouse will be for having spawned all this?
there's a camera at the intersection of palmer and middle. once again, as with the violent thefts from ayer lofts, if that camera has not captured usable evidence to identify the perpetrators and both their egress and prior ingress from and to the smokehouse to indicate the possibility of their having been overserved there, it's time for those cameras to come down. we were told it was for safety. well, it's not safe to walk in my neighborhood. it seems to me at least something's ought to be done about it.
and, as for the license commissioners, it'll be yet another opportunity for them to go against type and actually carry out the duty to which they have been sworn. or not. (i've been to this rodeo before).
it's blood on the streets.
(edited to add: i'm given to understand one of the altercations involved one man biting off the ear of another, a la tyson). rob mills, are you out there?