Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

A Chicago Croissant Street-Fighting Story…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Cops,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Retail Purgatory — Bob at 6:55 am on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

by Robert M. Katzman © September 9, 2020

In the Summer of 1989, in Chicago’s Boy’s Town, I was standing inside of my world travel bookstore at 3229 N. Clark Street, eating a buttery croissant from a local bakery. It was flakey and delicious.

But then, right in front of me on Clark Street, a few hundred feet north of Belmont, two men began a fist fight. They were really whaling away at each other and I decided to step outside and see how this situation turned out. I put my flakey croissant inside of my pants pocket for safe-keeping.

A crowd had gathered, the car traffic was blocked and the possibility of any customers coming into my then empty store seemed remote. Unlike the movies, when two men are boxing, it doesn’t make any sounds. The men were of unequal size, however, and the smaller one’s face was bloody. In a short time, he was knocked out, crumbled to the street and his opponent ran through the crowd and disappeared.

No one moved. 

So I watched this.

Seemed to me to be a stupid situation.

Being from the South Side of Chicago, I decided to do something about it. 

I walked into the street, picked up the knocked-out guy’s feet, looked at the crowd in front of us, picked out a capable looking young guy and yelled to him to help me move the body off of the street. He smiled back at me and quickly complied.

We both lifted the limp guy’s body together which fortunately was relatively light, because opening boxes of books and putting them away can make a person only just so strong. I motioned with my head to the stranger helping me that we should put the guy down on the west side of Clark Street, better to block The Guitar Center’s storefront than mine. 

We did that.

Then the guy winked at me and went on his way. 

I didn’t return his wink, but everyone has their own way of communicating.

In this case, my not winking was actually a reply. 

The street was still filled with people, but there was a cop car honking its way through, blue lights flashing, and I waved it down. I told the two cops what happened, where the body was, said no, he wasn’t dead, and that my total involvement was to move him off of Clark Street with the assistance of a now missing man. They were local cops, one had been in my store and recognized me, after first checking that I wasn’t wanted for anything. 

They both got out of their car, one broke up the crowd and the other went to see the guy who was still quietly lying on the sidewalk. 

I went back to my still empty bookstore, retrieved my relatively fresh but pocketed croissant, brushed some flakey crumbs away from my pants leg and took another bite. 

It was still buttery and very good.


Publishing News! 

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart  and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: http://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998                                                                                                                    (262) 752-3333, 8AM-7PM

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.

My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website.


Comment by brad dechter

September 9, 2020 @ 9:25 am

Ah the good old days when you could be a Good Samaritan and not worry about being sued for injuries afflicted on an unconscious person by moving them.
You’re a nice guy Bob!
Please be safe!

Comment by Jane Gjondla

September 12, 2020 @ 9:50 am

Hello Bob Katzman. Don’t know you, but enjoyed your poem of 9-11 mentioning your daughter, Sarah. H.B. I too was born on 9-11 many years ago. Enjoyed your writings. Just was lead here from the South Side of Chicago Group. Still live in West Lawn . When able will contact about buying your books. I love Chicago. Loved the Southside. Also lived all over. Your writings seem to bring me back to a truer, grittier, but more United time past. Thank you. Keep writing, publishing especially in this new world of the pandemic. Be well, be safe.

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