The night the police raided the Chameleon Club
by Jack Corbett

I was there at Chameleon during the raid. The Illinois State police came in. Suddenly the room became deathly quiet. I was sitting next to a dancer at the bar and she had just given me twenty for one of my Pimp t shirts. She became very agitated then told me "I am going to jail". I kept drinking my beer and was starting to get concerned that I hadn't given her a t shirt and that I didn't have any with me in my pickup truck. She was trusting me to come in the next night with two pimp t shirts when she would give me a ten for the second one. I was thinking..."If you are going to jail, I will have gotten your twenty and not given you what you have paid for."

The girl told me she had spent some time in jail and that if the cops came over to her and checked her out she would go down. I didn't have any business cards with me and was about to write down my phone number on a piece of paper but decided..."No. That will attract the attention of the police officers in the room and give them some ammunition for pulling both of us in. No matter that they couldn't prove anything. If they as much as thought we were setting up a "date for pay" that would be our pass into the little room with the funny little bars."

I kept thinking...."If they come over and ask me questions, I will just tell them that Chameleon is my neighborhood tavern where I do a lot of my drinking." Which is the truth. I go in there to cut up with everybody and drink a few beers. I've never done as much as a private dance with one of the girls although I've done the pole on the club's stage.

A few moments passed...then the lights were turned up bright. An ominous chill set in the air and detect the combined thoughts of most of those in the room..."This place is in big trouble. This isn't a dress rehearsal."

One of the officers came over with a camera and took several pictures of Sheila who was bar tendering that night. Still a few moments later I noticed that the police officers weren't making a move on either the dancers or the customers. They kept hovering around Tommy, the club's owner, and a couple of them were smiling broad grins. Tommy seemed cool as a cucumber and started laughing it up with one of the officers. 

A few minutes later, the officers left. Not one customer was questioned. No ids were checked. Nothing happened. After the police left the club once more dimmed down its lights and someone put this incredible song on the jukebox. I looked over at the dancer on stage and started dancing around the room to the music. It wasn't too long after that before the club would close. The dancer I had been talking to now told me she wanted a Pimp T shirt in the worse way. "Would I give her the one right off my back?" Then she said..."Do you have anything you can wear back in your truck?" I went out and checked but I didn't have anything I could wear. She then looked at my Alphapro jacket lying over on a table and said to me---"Can you go bare-chested and wear just that?" I told her I would but I wasn't going right home when the club closed but was going to Miss Kittys instead. 

She then said that her boyfriend was picking her up and that they had a plain white t shirt in their car that they could give me. After awhile he came in and straight off she introduced him to me. Then he went out and brought me the t shirt. I took my Pimp t shirt off right in the middle of the room, put the plain white one on and handed her the Pimp t shirt. Another dancer came up to me. And said...."I want to buy a shirt from you. You going to be in here tomorrow night?" I promised her I would (next night I got fifteen from her and had a shirt which I gave her.)

The dancer who thought she would be going to jail then came up to me and said..."Let me buy you a beer." But she became distracted for a few moments and I was thirsty. Went up to the bar and started to order one when she came up to me and told Sheila..."This one's on me. " But somehow Sheila got the drink order mixed up which included a drink for the dancer and her boyfriend. She brought two Bud Lites over to me and the girl now said..."Don't worry about it, Jack. I'm paying for both of them." Then we all got a table together. It wasn't long after that that the club started to close and the girl said to me...."Can you meet my boyfriend and me next door at C Mowes." I would have loved to. She was too cool. But I had promised my buddy, Howard I would meet him at Miss Kittys, so I had to beg off.

 

*********** 

As to the police officers being the "Gestapo" they were the complete opposite. Someone had sent them in. This is just part of a national movement to either close clubs down or to make them sissified versions of what they once were. As I type this message, consider this, in Fort Wayne Indiana the Mothers for a More Boring Nation are trying to force the clubs to close their doors at 10 PM. So no....I have no problems with the police officers who descended upon Chameleon.  I just wish more were like them.

Jack Corbett

 

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