He's sprinting down Canal Street as fast as he can run, and he can hear the pounding footsteps of the three riot cops as they chase him. Alan Gregory, known to his affinity group as Cricket, is 53 moving meters away from being tackled, beaten, pepper-sprayed, handcuffed, dragged, and imprisoned, and he knows it. He has heard stories of healthy activists dying in OPP (aka Orleans Parish Prison), especially activists accused of assaulting an officer, a charge he will surely face if he is taken in. All is not lost, though. If he can just make it to the Quarter, to a certain restaurant he knows on Bourbon Street, then should be able to slip away. |
Tires screech to his right as he races across the intersection at Rampart. Horn blaring, an angry tourist leans out the window of his rental car, cursing the young man in a language Cricket doesn't understand. The young activist seizes this opportunity to cross Canal, switching direction in mid-stride. He crosses over and continues racing down Canal Street. He hears the short "Woop!" of a police siren behind him, and realizes that they have finally sent a cruiser to assist in taking him down. He doesn't have much time now...
Here comes Dauphine Street. Cricket races underneath a huge section of scaffolding and makes a left at the corner. Now heading away from Canal on Dauphine, he hears the stomping sounds of the riot cops merge with the video-game chirps and grunts of the police cruiser as the "authorities" round the corner in hot pursuit. Bourbon Street is one block away; parallel to the street he is on now.
Cricket races diagonally across the intersection of St. Louis Street and Dauphine, making a right on St. Louis toward Bourbon. He hears the patrol car less than a block behind him, and knows that this is the moment of truth. He has to run to the restaurant on the northern corner of St. Louis and Bourbon, and he has to reach it before the cop car can cut him off. The cop car is only a block behind him, but there is foot traffic in the street. Cricket pushes his muscles to their limit, and loses all feeling in his body as a final, consuming wave of adrenaline propels him up the street at 19 miles per hour, which is exactly one mile per hour faster than the police cruiser can go with the pedestrians slowly making their way out of the street. The footsore riot cops can only manage a meager 14mph at this point, not having the "fight or flight" trigger to goad them toward a quicker rate of travel.--*--*--*--Tiffany Barwell is having an appetizer of fried alligator nuggets with marinara sauce. She will order a blackened steak and a Lagniappe Beer when the uppity server returns, but for now she is enjoying her cold glass of water, the ice rapidly melting in the 80+-degree heat of the restaurant.
"Shouldn't have gotten a table next to the open doors and the street," she thinks to herself, "I'd be a lot cooler in the back of the room." She eyes the tables in the back longingly. "It must be at least five degrees cooler back there. Oh well." Tiffany begins to absentmindedly fan herself with the drink menu when a young man wearing a black handkerchief around his face leaps over the chain separating the sidewalk from the restaurant floor and races through the dining area, leaving overturned tables and upset tourists in his wake. As her table is overturned, Tiffany hears a small cry begin to leave her throat, but then sanity kicks in and she realizes that the scene she is witnessing now is much preferable to the hot, boring day she had been having five seconds ago. She looks on with a bemused stare as two men dressed up like the Storm Troopers from Star Wars (only in black instead of white) enter the scene, presumably in pursuit of the first man. The first Storm Trooper makes it over the chain just fine, but manages to become entangled in the legs of the overturned table closest to the street; her table, as a matter of fact. The second riot cop doesn't even see the chain that crosses his path at knee level. The top of his body drops like the head of a hammer, and fortunately for him his partner provides a relatively soft place to land in a hopeless tangle, their chances of catching their elusive prey now rendered quite unpromising.