In the summer of 1962, a young man named Willie walks out of a liquor store carrying two cases of Bud Light and a handle of Congress vodka. He struggles under the weight of his purchases, lumbering uneasily toward a purple and white Chevy Impala parked 30 feet from the clear glass doors.
After depositing his booze in the trunk, being sure to bring five cans of beer up to the front seat with him, he slides the key into the ignition. The engine sputters for a moment and then roars to life. Willie wastes no time in speeding out into the cool night air, shotgunning a can of beer all the while.
Approximately 20 minutes later he finishes his last beer, rolls down his window, and throws the empty cans out of the car while careening down the road at 110 mph. All but one of the cans strike a young girl in the face. Needing .7 seconds to recover from the initial shock, she immediately hisses at the car, her narrowing eyes following it as it disappears over a hill and out of sight.
When she feels the faith in her cause waning, Mayor Tisdahl occasionally looks back on this moment. As she stands at the top of the WCTU basement steps, energy fading, she suddenly feels her blood boil. In a righteous fury, she storms out of her living quarters and steals into the night. Her work is not yet finished.
Sherman Ave recently had the opportunity to send a writer, your humble narrator, out with Tisdahl on one of her nightly patrols. While we are unable to report the exact date and time, we can say that this occurred on a Monday night prior to the closing of the renowned Keg of Evanston. Editor’s Note: May it rest in peace.
In order to properly observe the Mayor in action, the writer was told to walk casually around known off-campus student haunts, primarily west and south of Foster, sticking to the sidewalk while the Mayor prowled in the shadows.
Almost immediately after we enter what Tisdahl refers to as the “malcontent area,” we happen upon five sorority girls heading for an off-campus frat pregame. Your writer catches the Mayor’s eyes for a brief moment, and she motions quickly at the water bottles the girls are carrying. They are filled with a light brown liquid: Whiskey.
In a flash, she descends upon them, tackling the loudest girl and carrying her off behind a nearby house. The girl does not even have time to let out a scream; her friends, however, are not placed under the same restriction. Four high-pitched shrieks cut through the night as the girls run wildly off into the darkness. In their terror they have dropped their water bottles, and the Mayor returns, as if out of thin air as far as your narrator could see, to collect them and place them in her bag.
The writer asks Tisdahl what she intends to do with the contraband, but she simply shoots him a disapproving look and returns to investigating the crime scene. The writer then asks what will happen to the captured girl. The Mayor pauses for a moment, without turning to face the writer, and then gives a nonchalant wave of her hand, seemingly indicating that the girl will be fine.
After a few minutes of further investigation, Tisdahl seems satisfied with her work. She then raises her hand, pointing towards the sky. “That reason for…no streetlights,” she says in raspy, broken English. “I can see in…dark. Not students.” An allusion to the mothballed projects to improve lighting in an around campus are not lost on your writer, and he nods slowly.
The Mayor stops once again, this time staring directly at your narrator with eyebrows raised. She motions towards the “malcontent area” expectantly. At this time the writer must confess that fear, coupled with the cold Chicago night, conspired to inhibit the journalistic process; he shakes his head and points in the direction of campus. The Mayor nods, smiles, and walks farther off campus, evaporating from view within seconds.
As he walks to the library to collect his thoughts, your narrator cannot help but be in awe of the contrast between Tisdahl’s daytime life and her nighttime persona.
END OF PART 2