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Monday, January 2, 2012

Cloyne Court- Excerpts 36 and 37

Photo from watergate.summer.blogspot.com
Cloyne Court, Episode 36
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Rated "R" by the Author.

The author lived at Cloyne Court from 1977-79, while attending the University of California, Berkeley.

The police need to know how many nets to bring for the passive resisters. The police union wants full worker's compensation benefits for any officer that hurts his back lifting a protester, so the police brass decided to use a net on all passive resisters."

"Why are you cooperating? Isn't the whole point of civil unrest to be…?" I couldn't think of the exact word, "well …unrestful?"

"It's ironic that we cooperate with the police, but the ACLU attorneys have an agreement with the university on how to handle arrests. Fewer people get injured that way, and we get out of custody more quickly."

"Are you telling them how many handcuffs to bring in too?" I asked sarcastically.

"Don’t be silly. They use plastic flex ties now."

"What are you going to do?" I asked.

"I'm going to actively resist," she said. "How can anyone remain passive when there is social injustice in the world?"

I didn't want to see her make such a fatuous mistake. "Think about your future," I said. "What kind of job do you think you're going to get when future employers ask if you have ever been convicted of a felony?"

"Derek, there are felons in corporate boardrooms across America committing crimes against their stockholders and the environment. They just haven't been convicted yet."

"What good are you to the revolution if you're in jail?" I said, trying to convince her of her own self-interest. I knew what my self-interest was. I didn't want to go to jail and have a hulky guy named Bubba as my cellmate. "Let's leave. I don’t want us to get arrested."

"Leave without me."

"No, you're coming with me!” I picked her up with both arms and carried her toward the emergency exit. People parted and let us through when they saw Diane flailing her arms and legs.

"Let me go! Put me down!"

"No, I care about you, and I don’t want you to get hurt," I said, realizing I had just said the wrong thing. I put her down.

"What? Are you hitting on me?" she said in disbelief.

I didn't want this discussion moments from the teargas canisters dropping and the batons swinging. I did not want this conversation at all. What could I say quickly that would defuse the situation?

"I like you as I would any comrade who’s valuable to the cause," I said in my best Maoist voice.

She looked at me in disbelief.

"Liar!" She yelled. "Love and communism are different things. They should never be mixed."

She used her sign and swatted me with the cardboard section, but her aim was off. She backhanded me squarely in the nose with the wood handle. I felt a throbbing pain that was only dampened by the shock of her actions.

"Ouch! That hurt! My nose! I'm bleeding!" Blood started to pour from my nose and onto my shirt.

She saw what her impulsiveness had done, and I could see from the sheepish look on her face that she regretted hitting me. "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!" She took out a bandana from a pocket. Yes, the red bandana that was part of her revolutionary uniform. The bandana she was supposed to use to cover her face when she did illegal acts in public.

Seconds later, I heard the sound of breaking glass and the crash of a metal garbage can hitting the ground. Then a gunshot and the hiss of an exploding teargas canister. The crowd noise surged to a panicked uproar.

"We have to escape!" I shouted. I hadn’t inhaled the teargas yet, but I didn’t need to after seeing the frightened looks of the students in the front lobby.

Students gagged and coughed from the teargas and stampeded the exit. I pulled her toward the nearest emergency exit and pushed on the escape lever. An alarm sounded as the door opened. We were swept outside from the crush of the crowd behind us. I grabbed Diane’s hand, and we ran toward Telegraph Avenue.

Tina Weston, a Cloyne Court resident and a student reporter for the Daily Californian, was standing outside Sproul Hall beside a newspaper photographer. The photographer snapped a picture of me holding the red bandana against the side of my face and the blood on my shirt with Diane in her black beret and RSB uniform supporting me.

"What was it like in there?" Tina asked.

"The Pigs used teargas on nonviolent protesters," said Diane.
Tina used that photo of us on the front page of the next morning's Daily Californian with the headline, "THE POLITICS OF GAS."[1]


[1]Somewhere in a filing cabinet in the storage recesses of the FBI, that picture and my name are blacklisted on a dusty and yellowing subversives list. Fortunately, the FBI has never developed a workable database to link their archives. I can live my life in unconfined obscurity.

Cloyne Court, Episode 37
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Rated "R" by the Author.

The author lived at Cloyne Court from 1977-79, while attending the University of California, Berkeley.

I left Diane to regroup with her cadre of communists and walked back to Cloyne holding the bloody bandana to my face. My nose was still hurting. It had swollen a bit but didn't seem broken. I wrapped some ice in a towel, held it to my face and went to my room.

Alan was there. "What happened to you?" he asked. He was about to put on a Peter Frampton album on his stereo and crank it up.[1]

"A woman I met hit me with her protest sign," I replied.

"Yeah, that's what happens when you approach strange women and ask them if they think James Taylor is good music to fuck too," he said, matter-of-factly.

"I was trapped in a protest takeover. Police fired teargas. We escaped. People were choking and vomiting.

"Tell me something new and exciting." Alan yawned, "That happens all the time."

I took off my sweatshirt. It still had a slight smell of teargas, as did the rest of my clothing. I picked up my book bag to see if it needed to be decontaminated, and that's when I noticed the zipper was open and the items in it were gone.

Missing from my small cache of worldly possessions was my Texas Instrument Calculator, Model TI-50A and my pristine copy of A Room of One's Own. I was upset. Not only had I paid good money for these items, but also the loss of the Rhetoric book meant my plans for a successful study date with Karen would have to be canceled.

At dinner, I asked if anyone had a spare copy to lend. Katy and Dan weren't talking to each other for unknown reasons and were too preoccupied to care about my plight. The engineering students weren't required to take English or Rhetoric (which explains why most of them can't write readable reports), and Alan and Mike didn't think Rhetoric was a serious academic subject.

I didn't have the money to buy another book. What was I going to do?


[1] He had gotten into a discussion with a group who felt Pink Floyd's music was more indicative of the counterculture rock SF scene than Frampton. To avoid defeat, he was going to play Frampton for days at full volume until somebody got sick and tired of it and agreed Frampton had some musical merit.


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