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Gypsy & Willy - The Original Libertarian Bloggers

How Can You Laugh at a Time Like This?

Willy Chaplin - Bruce Madison

No. 61 - No. 181

I want my wife back!

August 27, 1998

Famous Dave's is a restaurant/night club that advertises itself as a place where you can get Chicago style barbecue and blues. Be careful if you go there, though, you may get more than you bargained for.

Last Saturday night, when I got a phone call from our daughter Lisa telling me that my wife Gypsy had been arrested, at first I thought it was a joke. She and Gypsy had gone out late that afternoon for dinner and a mother/daughter "conference." No, she assured me, it was no joke. Lisa was frantic and kept repeating over and over that Gypsy was in handcuffs, that the police had been called and the "she didn't do ANYTHING!"

When I got control of my emotions, I tried to calm Lisa down as she was nearly hysterical. I assured her that, if the police had been called and if Gypsy had done nothing wrong, then she would be released immediately, that the Minneapolis police were very professional and reasonable. Meanwhile, I dispatched our daughter Miranda to pick them up. My next job was to calm down our youngest son Roger, who, when he heard the story (such as it was), became nearly hysterical as well. It was, in fact, very difficult to believe. When all arrived home a half hour later, Gypsy told me the following VERY bizarre story.

It seems they had dined earlier at Famous Dave's, had briefly visited another restaurant to have some calamari for "desert" and then returned to Dave's as guests of Willie Murphy, a local musician whom we have known for many years who was playing there that evening. They sat down and caught the last bars of another musician's act, John Beech, also a very old friend of ours. They were relaxing and talking quietly...Lisa was having a drink and Gypsy was drinking some coffee...when a man neither of them had ever seen before approached their table and announced that they were to "come with me." Lisa asked, "Who are you?" but the man did not then, or at any later time identify himself.

Both Lisa and Gypsy were hesitant to go anywhere with a man they did not know, but when two uniformed security guards appeared alongside him, both relaxed somewhat and got up and followed the three of them outside the restaurant. On the way, Gypsy asked what this was all about repeatedly, but was only told, by one of the guards, that "you haven't paid your bill." Gypsy immediately said that this was not true, but, as they got outside, the man who had originally approached them, grabbed Gypsy's arms, pulled them roughly behind her back and snapped handcuffs tightly on her wrists. Gypsy told Lisa to go and call me, which she did, and, in the mean time, tried to find out what was going on. None of the three men detaining her volunteered any more information then or at any later time, except that the Minneapolis police had been summoned and were on the way.

While they waited in silence for the police to arrive, Gypsy told the man that he was hurting her. His response was to pull upward on the cuffs, increasing the pain considerably and shutting her up. When two officers finally arrived (Saturday nights are busy times for police in Minneapolis as in any other major metropolitan area) the first thing they said to the man was to immediately remove the handcuffs. They spoke briefly and quietly to him and then he and the two security guards vanished. One of the officers asked Gypsy if she would like to go to the hospital (her wrists were visibly bruised from the cuffs), but Gypsy, partly in shock and partly just anxious to get home, said "No," she was all right.

That's all there was to the story...so far. Furthermore, when Miranda subsequently returned to the club to make inquiries as to what had happened and who had been involved, she discovered no more information. She was told that the manager of the club was Brent Brayer and that a man named Chris Benner was "handling it," but that was all that was forthcoming.

It is now early in the morning the following Thursday. Several calls to the headquarters of Famous Dave's were greeted only by the message that they were "conducting our own investigation" of the incident. No apologies. No explanations of any sort. At first I was not too upset. Happy that Gypsy had emerged from the incident relatively intact and unscathed, I returned to my daily chores. She too returned to work, complaining for a few days that her wrists were bothering her, but that too quickly passed.

Still, she told the tale again and again to whomever would listen. I personally heard it a dozen times. To a person, everyone who heard the story was shocked and concerned. Many of them, including a police woman Gypsy knows, urged her to "hit the sons-of-bitches with a lawsuit...hard!" Some even offered to "rough up" whomever had done it. Gypsy is a VERY popular person.

After a couple days, I began to get another picture. Instead of getting calmer and more relaxed about the incident, as time passed and no explanation was forthcoming, Gypsy began to act more and more agitated. She wasn't eating and I awoke in the middle of the night to find her sitting at the computer with insomnia. Her behavior got more and more paranoid. She began to snap at me and the children. I asked her what was wrong, but all she would say was that this incident was worse than the time those armed men had broken into our house (described in Oxymoron: Intelligence in the War on Drugs).

"How can that be?" I wondered aloud. "How can being falsely 'arrested' for a few minutes even begin to compare to confronting masked armed intruders?"

"Well," she countered, "at least those men were after something. They made it plain what they were doing. What did that guy who held me captive want? Why did he want to hurt me?"

I was stymied. Understand that Gypsy is five feet one inches tall and weighs less than 120 pounds. At 55 years of age she is in very good shape, but no match for three adult males. Why indeed did three grown men have to terrorize and humiliate her in front of her children? And why her, instead of Lisa, who is a much larger person and was equally "guilty" of whatever? What DID this guy want? Who is he? Why is Famous Dave's remaining silent about it all?

The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. What have I lost? Quite simply, the cheerful companionship of a woman whom I love more than anything in the world. We spend every waking hour together when we are not working; talking or watching TV or making love. But, not now. Instead of getting up each morning to a happy and vibrant household I am greeted by a despondent woman obsessed with that which she can not understand nor explain. Instead of cheerful conversations about the future, we speak of lawsuits and "vengeance." Will she get over it? Will I? Of course! In time all memories fade. If we could get over armed intruders, both of us can get over the indignation of what happened last Saturday night. Also, there is a good chance of her receiving a large sum of money from a lawsuit against these people. There were many witnesses to this incident who can testify to what happened. There are literally hundreds of people who can testify to Gypsy's almost legendary good humor, now almost vanished.

BUT, I WANT MY WIFE BACK! NOW! I called Famous Dave's yesterday and told them that I did not want to wait until the lawyers had settled up. The thought of two or three years of this madness corrupting my daily life is VERY distressing, to say the least. I further informed them that unless someone from their establishment met with Gypsy IN PERSON and laid this matter to rest...IMMEDIATELY...that I would plaster this story all over the Internet, with copious references to Crazy Dave's...for that is what this establishment means to me...craziness. I thought I had caught their attention, since the secretary on the other end of the phone line told me she would make sure someone "got back to me" within a couple of hours. But, no one has.

A promise is a promise. So, you have just read "all about it"...so far. I will be sure to keep you informed of how this turns out. Meanwhile, if you care to drop Famous Dave's a note about how YOU feel about things like this, they can be reached by email at mark.lyso@famousdaves.com, by phone at 612-833-9300 or by snail mail at

Crazy Dave's
Calhoun Square
3001 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Oh, make sure you CC me a copy at willy@dreamagic.com.

Talk to you later...

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Editor's note: Read Got her back - thanks to YOU! to get a followup on this column.
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