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Mayhem Ensues at a Clarksville Applebee's

June 18, 2012 by Ted Crawford

It was a Saturday morning back in late April. I had just returned home from my late night shift at the convenience store, and was preparing to unwind with my weekly dose of Toonzai on the CW, when a story from a local news broadcast caught my attention. It was a breaking story from earlier that morning.

"For WLKY News, this is Drew Douglas reporting from Clarksville, Indiana. It was a tense and chaotic scene here late last night when a group of angry middle-aged women took over the local Applebee's at gunpoint. Two policemen were taken hostage by the women after the police attempted to arrest them for public intoxication. After a stand-off that lasted into the early morning hours, the women finally surrendered and were taken to jail."

The camera panned out and the reporter turned to a man he identified as a waiter at the restaurant where the incident had taken place, and asked him, "What did you witness in there, and can you tell us what caused these women to act so bizarrely?"

"Well, when the women came in, there was about 10 of them, and they had us put two tables together so they could sit together. They started ordering drinks immediately, along with some appetizers. After about an hour, they were on their fifth pitcher of margaritas, I believe, and they started yelling and laughing and having a little too much fun. It got to the point where the manager had to go over there and ask them to keep the noise down.

"After that, they quieted down for a while. Then, I was taking a woman's order at a different table. She ordered the oriental chicken salad, then changed her mind and wanted the mesquite chicken salad instead, and she said 'No, mesquite! Mesquite!' After she said this I noticed a couple of women from the large group looking over in our direction like they had just seen a ghost or something. They started talking very excitedly and looking around the restaurant. A couple of them got up and started walking around as if they were looking for something. They started yelling at each other across the restaurant, when one of the women ran into a server with a large tray of food, which came crashing down on the ground. That sent the rest of the women into a fit of laughter and screaming that seemed to go on forever.

"By then, Danny, the manager, had had enough of them, and he went over to their table and told them they would have to leave. Then they started arguing with him, and they told him they couldn't leave because they were waiting for some famous actor to show up because they were his fan club, and the manager said he didn't care who they were waiting for, they had to leave or he was calling the police. The women told him, 'Go ahead and call the police, we aren't going anywhere,' and they remained at the table.

"Well, when two police officers arrived at the restaurant the women argued with them too, and the police decided that the women were too drunk to drive home and charged them with public intoxication, and they called for several backup cars to help haul all the women to jail.

"Then, one of the women started yelling at the police and one of the policemen pulled out his pepper spray and let her have it. Another woman grabbed the pepper spray out of his hand and started spraying both policemen repeatedly in the face. They then took the guns of both officers and started yelling for all the remaining customers and staff to get out. After we went outside, the women barricaded themselves inside and held the two officers hostage. Then several more police cars showed up, followed by a SWAT team, and they brought out the riot gear and the bullhorns and were telling the women inside to come out with their hands up. It was pretty scary, luckily no one got hurt too badly."

The video then switched to footage of the women's arrest early that morning. There on the screen, being led away in handcuffs was none other than my mother, Mary Crawford. Her hair was a tangled mess and the faint trails of eyeliner running down from her eyes made it clear that she was the one who had been pepper sprayed. She looked at the TV camera with a fierce expression as she walked by and shouted, "No justice, no peace!"

The video switched back to the reporter, who thanked the waiter and started talking again. "After a tense 6 hour stand-off with police, the women were finally persuaded to surrender, and were taken to jail shortly after 3:00 a.m. Audrey O'Neal, a legal representative of the women, who identify themselves as members of the Kentucky chapter of the Skeet Ulrich Fan Club, says they didn't come to Applebee's looking for trouble that night, and were only there for their monthly fan club meeting. Their agenda for the evening included discussing promotional strategies for their upcoming 16th Quarterly Jericho Blog Carnival, in addition to the group's petition asking NBC to put Law and Order: LA back on the air with Skeet Ulrich reinstated to his starring role, in spite of the fact that doing so would require the show's writers to bring Ulrich's character back from the dead.

"According to O'Neal, the women were reluctant to leave the restaurant because they had received an email from the actor himself stating that he might stop by and say hello while their meeting was in progress. She says the women were unfairly harassed and discriminated against by both the restaurant management and the police, and plan to bring a lawsuit against both parties after they are released from jail. From Clarksville, this is Drew Douglas, comin' at you live for WLKY News."

At that moment, I couldn't help feeling a little bit proud of my mother, in spite of the questionable decisions of her and her friends. She always stands up for what she believes in, even if that's only a pointless fan club for an obscure actor, which is really just an excuse to go out drinking with her friends.

At the same time, I felt uneasy, and remembered my encounter with Jack Bauer last Christmas Eve. He believed my mother was part of a terrorist organization, but I had convinced him that his intel was wrong, that it must have been some kind of mix up. But the news segment had revealed an angry, violent side of my mother that I had rarely seen before. What if this was just the tip of the iceberg? What if the fan club is just a front for something more sinister? Is there some kind of radical ideology at work in the group? Taking policemen hostage is a pretty serious offense, one that would surely get the attention of the FBI and Homeland Security. What if Jack's right after all? Should I consider moving out of mom's basement?

These were questions that went through my mind that Saturday morning, questions that I still don't have an answer for. Mom has refused to discuss anything about the incident, and won't reveal the identity of the mysterious benefactor who bailed her and several of her friends out of jail. I'll give you an update on the situation when I find out more.

"Won't you tell me where my country lies?" said the unifaun to his true love's eyes...