The Rise of the Flashmob
I've been in four flashmobs.
I'm pretty sure there won't be another for me. That fifth one, which I can't really say was a true flashmob couldn't be topped. And maybe, it probably shouldn't be.
By that time my good friend Johnny Z had been organizing them for a few years...over 20 mobs. He said he did it to raise the planet's chi.
When he first told me that I thought...."whatever".
I usually couldn't make it to most of the early ones. I was always "too busy" or had "other junk to take care of" after I did drag myself to his first one. And it was a huge disappointment. Only 12 people showed up. And 12 of us standing still in a crowded mall on Black Friday for 5 minutes went entirely unnoticed. It was actually kinda funny in a pitiful sort of way. Johnny Z was undeterred though.
The next week he got 23 people to show up.
I wasn't one of them since, "Sorry Johnny, I have no idea where I can get a Hoppity Hop on such short notice dude". Somehow, out of all the people he contacted, 23 did. He called me afterwards. "Holy moly dude!! You shoulda been there!!! All those effin' Hoppity Hops bouncing around totally freaked out the crowd! You gotta see the video!" The "crowd" being about 40 people getting off a commuter train from DC to McClean VA near where we live. Johnny mentioned that the commuters all left the station slowly shaking their heads. "Like a ripple went out from there. Like a ripple in the chi! There has to be a rise in the medium carrying a ripple dude! A rise in the chi!!" He was certain that the ripple would be carried by those people and reverberate to more people that they would then come into contact with.
The next morning the local paper carried a blurb with the title, "Train Station a Hopping Place", and a few sentence interview with Johnny allowed him to get in a plug for a url...Zflash.com.
Now I think, "Whatever happened to that site?" and, "Who were those guys who put Johnny Z into that white SUV after the fifth flashmob I was in?"
By the time I felt as if I had run out of excuses and got "roped into" another one, Johnny Z had built up an admittedly sizeable network of flashmobsters. His website turned out to be a great tool. A membership brought with it access to a private chatroom where recruits were enlisted and planning sessions were held. It was his twelfth one, my second, and about 200 people were to participate. He promised me that no equipment was necessary and all I had to do was walk 3 blocks up the main street of town.
When the time for the event came he had a 500 foot length of rope laid along the street up against the curb. Long enough that you couldn't really see what was at the other end when all those people picked it up and started pulling it, seemingly with all their might, working their way along the storefronts on the sidewalk on a busy Saturday afternoon. At that other end was Johnny Z on a skateboard. Grinning hugely like a maniac tossing rose petals as he rolled by. The mobsters thoroughly enjoyed it and we ended up pulling Johnny about 15 blocks.
The spectacle stopped everything...
and the cops.
The standstill ensured that not only were the mobsters involved but that the nearly 1000 witnesses along those 15 blocks were also participants just by the act of stopping what they were doing and observing. Johnny said it was "an indelible ripple".
The police did more than just observe however.
Johnny Z was arrested and fined $500 for "Creating a Disturbance". He was ecstatic about that. Creating a disturbance was his goal after all. He said that in order to raise the planet's chi a "disturbance" in the current chi's level was necessary when you got right down to it. The charge and the fine was his big validation. Nothing could stop him now. He wanted to escalate even more.
Even though everybody chipped in a couple bucks to help pay Johnny's fine he wanted to avoid doing something that would incur another one so the next mob I went to, one year after the first, back at the mall again...on Black Friday...sounded a lot tamer when he first told me of it.
He had 5 more under his belt since his arrest at "The Fine Mob You Got Us Into" (he started naming them) and was getting artistic about it.
Instead of a visual, physical "disturbance" he went with an auditory "flash". He called it Mobplause.
350 were people positioned in every corner of the huge mall 30 to 40 feet apart from each other. Starting at 6:30 PM, every 30 seconds......CLAP!!! For 15 minutes. Just one CLAP!!! at a time. The shoppers seemed somewhat disturbed at first. But, after a few minutes, I gotta admit, it was REALLY freaky. The sound seemed to permeate existence itself. And with each CLAP!!! the anticipation of the next CLAP!!! added to the sense of permeation. By the time 7 minutes had gone by, everyone in the entire mall would stop whatever they were doing just before the next CLAP!!! It was like they were all part of the same universal heartbeat.
And when it was over,
that next pause...
when no clap came...
held everyone for a full 30 seconds...when no clap came again and they were released.
The "no clap" was an even freakier moment.
There was definitely some chi raising going on there. Very Zen. The look in peoples' eyes was like they had all just discovered a new way of thinking about the world. That they were more a part of a whole than they were just 15 minutes ago. That they WERE the whole.
Johnny Z. had actually done it. And he knew it. It had all been more or less trial and error up to this point and from now on he was going to put a lot more thought into his flashmobbery.
The next several flashmobs all began to have a scientific-related theme and Johnny was starting to operate on several layers of embedded symbolism.
One he called DMobNA had 400 people walk in a double helix formation three times around the AIDS Olympics event at Benjamin Banneker Park. A lot of people who watched that joined in and when it was over the strand had over 600 people in it. Johnny wondered what old Benjamin would have thought of that.
Another, called Gravity of the Mob, had a few hundred people randomly dropping out of trees all around the National Mall and walking to the Washington Monument. After everyone had the Monument encircled they just radiated away in every direction....like gravity waves emanating from a density. The onlookers created a secondary wave as they sort of physically reverberated what the mobsters were doing by forming a loose outer circle that then radiated away after the mobsters did. Johnny was really getting this chi manipulation thing down pat.
I didn't make it to these flashmob "gigs" but all I had to do was go to the website to see how they went. Johnny had by now stopped participating directly and was instead, along with several other "assistants", recording each event to "study the amplitude and frequency of the initial chi wave patterns among the target population", as he put it.
My fourth one (I think it was #22) was what Johnny Z. said had been fractal inspired. Every individual is made up of single cells.
He would make a single cell out of all the individual mobsters.
He called it Amobmoeba. National Mall...4th of July. 800+ mobsters took up position on an area of the Mall just west of 3rd St. at 10AM as if they were over 100 small unrelated units of families or friends. There to enjoy the festivities of the day. Which, for the most part, they did. Spreading out blankets, picnicing, throwing frisbees, frequenting street vendors' stalls, just being there.
As the day wore on the "target population" filled in the entire mall with unrelated units of families or friends also spreading out blankets, picnicing, throwing frisbees, frequenting street vendors' stalls, just being there.
At 6 PM the "amobmoeba" went on the move. The mobsters all dropped to their hands and knees and a first pseudopod stretched tentatively westward in the direction of the Washington Monument. It enveloped a few groups of people adjacent to it and the part of the amobmoeba behind it flowed behind. A second pseudopod stretched out nearby and a forward section of the organism surged west. The going was pretty slow and the rear part of the cell didn't begin to move for a good 6 or 7 minutes. Once it was all moving the effect was clear. As more and more "targets" were swallowed up a distinct wave of silence, followed by a rising murmur and then giggles and laughter moved along with the organism. Pseudopods would extend, the body would flow behind and the targets would resonate and reverberate.
The amobmoeba would move along the Mall to 7th street. It took 45 minutes. And it was nearly 3 times bigger than when it started! The amobmoeba must have picked up over 1000 people as it went. As each mobster reached 7th, they just stood up and went either left or right and made their way back to the starting area along Independence and Constitution Aves as was planned. It was clear that even more people simply walked straight back on the Mall to where they started. These people had just spontaneously joined in on their own as it happened.
I saw Johnny with his video camera across 7th Street when it was over. He was staring at the Washington Monument. I walked over. He turned to me and said, "I bet f sharp has something to do with it."
I had no idea what he was talking about but I was long past listening to what he might say and then just thinking ...."whatever".
It was this flashmob that somehow sent Johnny onto a more metaphysical tangent and into 3 months of intense research on the internet. During those 3 months he didn't organize a single flashmob. It was by far his longest dry spell. He would usually work on 3 or 4 at a time and he rolled them out regularly every 3 to 5 weeks. It was quite a strange thing to see him quiet for so long. When I finally next heard from him we got together at a TGI Fridays over beers, soup and onion rings on a rainy mid-October afternoon. He explained to me that their was a new dimension he was ready to explore with his next flashmob.
It was something to do with that sound that traveled along with the amobmoeba.
Johnny noted on the videos of amobmoeba that areas of different frequencies of murmur yielded different numbers of spontaneous joiners. He told me that the frequency which yielded the most joiners was f sharp. He said this was consistent with several other of his flashmob target chi effects he had been studying. He also said he had found out some very interesting things about f sharp in general and a few very specific things about f sharp. He explained that the f sharp above middle C is approximately 369.994 Hz.
"I'm going to use f sharp in a 3000 member mob", he told me. "It's going to take a lot of organizing and even some practice but it's going to totally kick ass. I'll let you know when its ready dude." He lifted his index finger to his lips so that it pointed straight up and said, "shhhhhhhhhh", as he slowly rose to his feet and left the restaurant. I remained silent but thought ...."ok, that was weird". I left pondering how big the target population had to be to justify 3000 mobsters.
Later that week I got an email from Johnny Z with an audio file attachment. It was a 6 second long tone...f sharp. The instruction in the text of the email was to practice saying "shhhhh" for 6 seconds at that tone for the next few weeks and that my color assignment was green. I tried it and it was not at all difficult to match the tone even though the concept of shushing at a specific frequency was a bit strange.
It's a little embarrassing to admit, but the first shush I made started with my index finger raised to my lips as Johnny had done at the restaurant. I let my hand drop when I then realized it wasn't necessary.
I couldn't imagine what kind of huge crowd Johnny was going to shush but knowing that there would be 3000 shushers I was pretty sure that crowd would go silent.
November was just beginning and the only crowd I could imagine that was big enough would be at a Washington Redskins game. I checked their schedule online and looked up ticket prices but the next email I got from Johnny proved me wrong. Everyone was to meet at a rallying point wearing a shirt of their assigned color on the last Saturday of November, 11:00 AM at Bon Air Park.
When the day came I arrived at the park a bit early. There was already quite a crowd there. As I got out of my car I saw they had begun gravitating toward a large open area. I had never been to this park before but it looked like that open area was plenty big enough for 3000 people and whatever Johnny had planned for them. As several people walked by me a girl asked, "Are we going to practice here first?" I shrugged and scanned the parking lot. At one end were 4 guys in overalls standing in workboots next to a huge flatbed lift truck. They were looking out into the open field. A couple sort of shaking their heads.
Johnny Z was out there, dressed in a yellow lab coat...or robe or something and jeans. He was the only person I could see wearing the color yellow. Everyone else was in red, green or black. Assigned colors I figured. Johnny was arranging people by pointing at the ground and waving a person forward to stand where he pointed. As I made my way over I could tell he had started forming mobsters into a wide arc. The ground was a bit soft, it had been a typical rainy November but it wasn't really muddy or mushy.
Then I stepped over a white line spray-painted on the grass and saw there was an entire circle. Looking a bit to the left I noticed there was a big stone that seemed to be at the center of the circle. A group of mobsters were sitting or leaning on it. One guy pointed back at the truck as he spoke with the others. I looked back and from this angle I could see the side of it. It had Universal Marble & Granite Baltimore, Maryland printed on the door. So, I thought, the park is going to do something with a huge block of granite...ok. The thing looked like it must have weighed several tons.
I completed my stroll over to Johnny who greeted me with the usual maniacal grin. He was not wearing a lab coat. It was a robe. Ok. I didn't ask. "Great you could make it dude," he started, "I think at least 3000 will be here. Over half the circle done already. It won't be long now. Green huh? Ok, you stand here." He placed me next to a girl in red, about two feet to my left. Just behind and between us was a guy in black. The three people next to our little triad had a green in back and next to them the rear person was red. The girl next to me introduced herself as Heidi, "Looks like we're going to practice first", she said. From behind us a hand was extended. I shook it. Heidi shook it. "Tony", he said, "what's up?" Tony told us he'd had enough practice and demonstrated a perfect f sharp shush for us. I nodded and replied, "Yeah, I got it down too." Heidi suggested that we remember each others' faces since we'd probably have to find each othe again for the real thing. We also introduced ourselves to our two neighboring groups so we could find our spot in the circle later. As Johnny worked on finishing the circle I could see introductions being made all the way around. I asked my partners, "Do either of you know where the hell we're supposed to go after this?" Neither of them did.
I thought ...."strange".
The circle was nearly complete and there were more than enough people to finish it out. Johnny walked briskly past me headed back toward his car and said, "We're short on reds". He returned with a few red shirts, a boombox, a bunch of red, green and black colored placards and a box full of stopwatches. He stopped and explained to me that he had over 3500 recruits and had to turn down most of the excess. A few dozen alternates had also arrived in case of expected no-shows which made the color distribution uneven. But he was prepared for that. He continued on, handed out the shirts, placed the last few groups and headed toward the granite block with some unused alternates in tow. He handed out the placards and stopwatches to the unused alternates and evenly spaced them in six groups of three inside the circle facing the mobsters. Each held a different color placard.
Johnny Z climbed up on the block. It made for a handy stage from which to address the colorful assembly of mobsters who, up to this point had been noisily talking among themselves and sporadically demonstrating their f sharp shushing to each other. They all fell silent when Johnny extended his arms upward. "All of you guys and girls", he started, "make up the largest flash mob ever assembled! Give yourselves a big round of applause!"
And we did. There was no doubt about it. We were all pretty thrilled with ourselves and the applause and whoops went on for several minutes. Johnny raised his arms again. "A lot of you are veterans of my flashmobs over the last few years so I have every confidence that this one will come off smoothly. I also believe that when it is over, you will all have experienced something that will resonate positively within you for the rest of your lives." Another huge eruption of applause and cheering rose up. The vision of Johnny up there in that yellow robe made me think of him as if he was more of a kind of priest than my friend the flash mob organizer. It was sort of eerie. When he raised his arms again the "priest" thing dug a bit deeper into my psyche as I'm sure it did with all the mobsters there.
He said, "Now we're all going to give this a go. I'm going to start us off by playing a tone of f sharp from this boom box to get the pitch started. When you see your color held up I want you to shush in f sharp along with the tone. When your color comes down I want you to stop and take a deep breath for the next shush when your color is raised again. The order will be green, black, red. My green assistants will hold up their placard for six seconds. Three seconds after green is raised the black will go up for six seconds. Three seconds after that red will go up for six seconds when green comes down. This will give green 3 sends to take a breath to get ready for the next green shush. This way there will always be 2000 of you shushing f sharp simultaneously. We're going to go for one minute and twelve seconds so you'll each shush ten times. All you have to do is watch your placard, shush and inhale. Does anyone not understand? A couple dozen people raised their hands. He told those people to step forward a few steps. "Ok...just you folks. I want to hear you shush when you see your color raised. Green assistants!...raise your placards for six." They did so and the handful of greens who thought they didn't understand shushed...for six seconds and stopped when the palcards were lowered. "Does anyone still not understand?", asked Johnny. Everybody understood. It was very simple. They returned to their places.
"Alright, I'm going to start the tone." He started the tone. Not really loud but loud enough. "Assistants get your stopwatches ready. On three......1...2...3 NOW!." The green placards went up and I shushed a perfect f sharp...along with 1000 other greens. Three seconds later blacks started and the doubled intensity was unreal. I was hit with a minor disorientation having never heard anything like this before. I really couldn't hear my own shhhhhh at all but I knew I was still shushing. It actually felt like every cell in my body was shushing, not just my mouth. When, three seconds more had gone by and the green placard was lowered and the red one raised I totally forgot to stop. I think most...or all the greens forgot to stop too because the even greater intensity of the sound gave me a strong sense of vertigo. I ran out of breath and reached out to grab Heidi's arm. She had reached out to grab mine and behind us Tony was grabbing for us both. The entire circle had stopped shushing and everyone was exhibiting some wooziness and slight disorientation. I looked inward for Johnny Z. I needed, everyone needed, some kind of advice or instruction to focus on. The granite block was there but I didn't see a priestly figure. On the far side of the circle beyond the block several of the mobsters were lurching forward looking worried. Then Johnny popped up to his feet to where I could his head and shoulders on the other side of the block. He had obviously lost his balance and fallen off. It was no wonder. That freakin' sound was more like a force than a sound. I wondered if being in the center of it wouldn't have downed an elephant. All I could hear was people saying things like, "What the hell was that?", "Did you feel that?", "What's going on?", "Was that supposed to happen", "This is crazy man".
Johnny was slowly walking around the block, head down, seemingly deep in thought. Nobody knew what to do next or what to think next. Then climbed back on the rock and did a funny little jig. Giggles and laughter started somewhere in the circle and made its way around. Soon everyone was smiling, and laughing. Animation returned to the gathering as the shock wore off. Johnny had finished his little dance and was extending one leg forward pushing down on different parts of the block along its edges as if to test its stability. Apparently satisfied that it was indeed sitting firmly in place he raised his arms. The gaze which fell on him thoroughly conveyed the sense that he was a priest or some kind of higher being. When he began to speak many of the mobsters lowered their heads. He bent down and hit the stop button on the boombox and when that f sharp tone stopped those heads rose back up. I realized that it had been playing the whole time. Now that I couldn't hear it, it was as if the aural space that it left behind was what had been turned on rather than the tone being turned off.
Johnny began, turning on the block as he spoke so he could make eye contact with everyone, "Ok...I thought you all knew what you were supposed to do". He flashed a wry grin that showed us all that even he hadn't been prepared for the results. "Now, I think we're all going to have to put greater concentration into this so it doesn't get out of hand again. No matter what happens you have to stop shushing at the proper time. I'm going to get of this rock and we'll start again but I want to add one more instruction. It might help everyone in keeping their balance to
know that they'll be stepping two feet that way," he pointed to his left...my right, "the second time the green placard is raised." Does anyone not understand that?" Apparently, everyone understood...no hands went up.
"Ok, I'm going to start the tone again. Concentrate people." He reached out out took the boombox off the block. When the tone started he said again, "On three......1...2...3 NOW!."
The green placards went up and I shushed for all I was worth. My eyes were glued to that placard and my body was completely geared up for that step to my right. The black placard went up and it helped that I knew what was coming this time. The slight disorientation returned but I was determined to obey my placard and take that step. When green came down and red went up I stopped. That one lesson we had on the initial run definitely stuck with everyone. When the red shush replaced the green the intensity stayed the same and there was no increase in disorientation. It was slightly bothersome but no real deterrence. Then green went back up as black went down. I shushed and we stepped. And we stopped. The great shush, the seeming force we created had been pierced by a highly disturbing sound.
Sirens. Lots of sirens.
I think Johnny was not at all aware that we stopped and that a parade of police cars, police vans, and shiny black SUVs all with flashing lights were wailing into the park. He was leaping wildly about like a complete lunatic, arms flailing, robe billowing, screaming "HA HA...HA HA...YEAH BABY...WE DID IT!!!!", at the top of his lungs. Heads cocked sideways as we all glanced from Johnny to the cops and back to Johnny again. I was distinctly certain that we didn't do it. That we had only just started and made it a mere eight seconds into a practice session. The only people we flashmobbed was the four guys still hanging out by the Universal Marble and Granite truck and a few random people who had since come into the park for their daily jog. It seemed the only thing we did was bring the police down on ourselves and Johnny....again. I couldn't help but wonder how this flashmob would have affected the thousands of targets we were going to unleash it on.
Several officers got out of their squad cars and walked over to one of the black SUVs and spoke with the occupants for a few seconds. Then they started toward us. Their eyes were squarely glued on Johnny. As they got to the circle, that section opened up for them and, ignoring everyone else, they planted themselves around our priest. As they walked with Johnny back to their cars, two cops stayed behind to instruct us all to vacate the park, break up the group, and do not return that day. They waited as everybody began to move, slowly at first, off the open area and back to their cars. I turned around a full 360 degrees and then some at a complete loss. I stopped facing directly toward the Universal Marble and Granite truck. The four guys there seemed to be having a pretty agitated discussion. One guy was pantomiming as if he was lifting a box and yelling something. Another guy was gesturing to the bed of the truck and the huge lift apparatus on it . The other two could have been arguing about the price of eggs for all I knew but seemed pretty intense about it.
I looked over to where the cops had walked Johnny. Another SUV had joined the parade. No lights but this one was white with blacked out windows. Two guys got out and walked toward the cops standing with Johnny, who was now in handcuffs. Now these two guys were not at all dressed like cops, I noticed. I took several steps in that direction since the two cops that stayed behind to make sure we left were giving me "the look". I figured I should at least act like I was leaving. As I got closer to Johnny's position it struck me that those two guys from the white SUV looked kinda like priests themselves. They weren't wearing robes like Johnny was but they weren't uniformed or wearing suits exactly. It was more like nehru but not quite. I don't know but it was just different in a "foreign holy guy" kinda way.
Maybe the impression was just brought on by the events of the day so far.
"Whatever" is all I have to think about it now.
I got to the parking lot as the guys from the white SUV were having some kind of conference with the occupants of the black one. Then these two foreign type guys met with the cops standing with Johnny. A few words were spoken and the cops took the cuffs off and stepped aside as Johnny was led to the white SUV into which he was invited to enter. Then the two guys got in and they drove away. That's the last I've seen of Johnny Z since. I have no idea what to think of that.
The 4 guys by the truck were still going at it and they looked like they were now readying the truck to load it up. I now thought that maybe they had come to take the block away instead of having brought it there. Curiosity got the better of me so, with nothing else better to do now that my day had been completely upended and not wanting to leave the park because of what had been happening there, I made my way over to the truck. Over the next 15 minutes I found out several things from these guys. First, they had brought the block there at eight AM that day and, even though it was bought and paid for, they were taking it right back to Universal Marble and Granite Baltimore Maryland.
I thought, "Ok".
I asked them how much a block like that weighs and they told me it was 9 tons. I wondered why the park would buy a big block like that to have it placed then removed that day. I asked, "Didn't they like it there once they saw how it looked? Like when you buy a sofa and once you get it home it doesn't work for the space you bought it for like you thought it would when it was at the store?"
The guy who had pantomimed the lifting of a box explained to me, "No, it was that perp they just took away. He bought it last month. Walked in and paid cash." I said, "Ummmmm". Then he asked me, "Why'd they arrest him....and how did you do that?" He pointed at the block. I had no idea which question to answer first. I had no idea why they arrested Johnny Z and I did not know what he was referring to by "that" or, for that matter by "do". I said "Ummmmm", again. So I decided to say, "I have no idea why they arrested him but I know him and I wouldn't call him a 'perp'". When I stopped he said, "Ok, whatever...but how did you do that?"
"Do what?" I asked back. He leaned close to me and spoke slowly, as if I was mentally challenged or something, "How...did...you...move...that...block?" The other 3 guys all leaned close too. Their expressions expectant, as if they were about to learn the meaning of life. "I didn't move that block", I shot back, "You guys put it there. You guys moved it." "No kidding we put it there", was the clearly flustered response. "We'll show you, get in the truck."
I climbed in to the spacious rear seat of the cab and slid over as two climed in with me and the other two occupied the front. "Look", said the driver as he turned over the deisel engine, put her in gear and drove toward the block "we put it there but we saw it move when we heard that weird static. You all were right there, looking right at the block. You had to see it move." I had to admit, I was right there.
The "static" he mentioned was certainly the shush...in f sharp. But, as I then explained, "I wasn't looking at the block. I was looking at my cue." "What the heck are you talking about now?" he asked. The situation was utterly confusing. I was about to go into a long explanation about Johnny Z and chi and flashmobs and the cues and the shush when the guy sitting next to me gave me a semi-aggressive shove. "I don't care what you were looking at, get out." We had traversed the 200 or so yards to the block. We all got out and they practically frog-marched me to the block. Pointing at the ground one of them declared, "Right there." I looked. "See that depression...that's where the block was." I saw it. The depression was almost two inches deep and clearly new. It was wetter in the bottom as it seemed water had just been squeezed into the upper layer of ground there. I asked, "Didn't you guys do that when you put it here this morning?" They all laughed. "Look, we put a block like that down and it stays right where we put it. You think we're gonna adjust it like some kind of sofa in your living room? To put this thing back on the truck we're gonna have to dig under it for the lift. It's gonna make a mess all around it. If we move this thing, there's gonna be a mess. Do you see a mess?" I did not see a mess. "Now, tell us, how did you move this thing like that?"
I looked at the depression again. For that depression to be there the block had to have been moved about two feet. Two feet in the direction that we stepped on the second green cue.
I told them, "Ok, I can explain, I think." I looked back to the parking lot. "I have to get something from my car first", I told them. "I'll be right back".
I walked all the way back to my car, got in and drove away. I probably shouldn't have done that to them but I was not really that invested in explaining the whole thing to those guys. They had work to do anyway. And I wanted to get online to see what was happening at Zflash.com.
When I logged in there was about 100 pages of stuff about that day already posted. Everybody had a lot to say about the weird sensation, about Johnny falling off the block, about the cops about everything. Everything except the block itself. Nobody claimed to have seen it move. Nobody was paying attention to it. Just like me, they were all in deep concentration watching for the cues and thinking about taking that step.
Nobody had a clue about what happened to Johnny. All the local police stations had been called and/or visited by many of the mobsters but nobody they spoke to knew anything.
A lot of the mobsters that day were also friends of mine and in the weeks afterward I brought up the block with them. I never really came out and said it appeared that it moved but no answers to my cleverly worded leading questions came back with anything like, "Did you see that block when it moved?" Nothing even close to that. Nobody said they saw it except the four guys who put it there. But, I'm pretty sure it moved.
Now, when I shush somebody, I always make sure I raise my index finger to my lips...pointing straight up. I wonder how long people have been doing it that way and how it ever got started.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Doug Rummel.
Published on e-Stories.org on 03/09/2012.