Of Scientists & Prophets
A Minneapolis Skyway Tale
Part 1
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 10/5/01
[Originally submitted to Skyway News to be run in 2 parts on 10/2/01] 

  Ever since the 9/11/01 attacks on our nation people in the street having been querying themselves: Do evildoers ever receive justice? I can answer unequivocally- YES. Although it may take some time.
  Let me answer by relating tales inspired by another recent query I believe appeared not long ago in SKYWAY NEWS. A certain writer lamented the fact that downtown Minneapolis lacked the assorted nuts of yore- i.e.- those wacky folk who make life interesting: those people who mutter to themselves or do crazy stunts for no reason at all. Well, to that writer I can only echo the old Superman tv show opening! Yes, all the nuts reside in the Skyway. I have worked in downtown Minneapolis for AT&T for over 4½ years now & have seen a lot of wackos: retards, would-be shamans, schizophrenics, etc. Usually I encounter them on my afternoon break’s constitutional though the Skyway. Most are rather run-of-the-mill nuts- such as the young retarded white man who hangs around Ginelli’s pizzeria in the TCF Tower & banks at the Wells-Fargo building. The poor sap seems to go out of his way to say inappropriate things so people notice him- especially a red-haired, freckle-faced pizza girl at Ginelli’s, & a beautiful young brunet teller named Ashley. But, basically, he’s harmless.
  There are, however, 2 terrors of the Skyway that have already become legend at AT&T. The 1st is a schizophrenic, & apparently homeless, black man of 45 or so. He can be seen toting a wheeled set of baggage behind him. Often he has several multi-colored umbrellas with him. But his most famed accoutrement is a wooden staff that he wields with brass- the thing that along with his muttering of Bible passages has earned him the monicker of Moses! 4 brief encounters- out of many- with the man stand out. The 1st 2 are actually non-Skyway incidents. The 1st is that my wife & I often see Moses at the bus stop on the corner of Franklin & Lyndale Avenues while waiting for the Uptown Poetry Group I run to start in the Steeple People Surplus Store. Oft he spews epithets & panhandles passersby, scaring many with his rants & umbrellas. The 2nd time was when we saw the man at the bus stop on the corner of Franklin & Hennepin Avenues a few months ago- this time he was waving his staff, spitting at a passing bus, cursing, & whacking the side of the vehicle with his holy instrument. Damnations echoed off the surrounding buildings. The other 2 times are, indeed, Skyway tales. The 1st was a simple brawl he initiated with another homeless black man in the TCF Tower Skyway opposite the TCF Bank. Apparently the other vagrant had ‘stolen’ his spot looking out the window. The final & most notorious Mosaic encounter occurred last winter at a little after 6 am. I was crossing from the Hilton Hotel toward the Kinnard Financial Center. About 20 yards ahead of me I saw a plump white brunet 40ish businesswoman in heels heading the same direction as me. Moses was heading toward us in the opposite direction, apparently in his oblivion to all, when as the woman & he passed by each other, the would-be vates grabbed the woman by her left arm & screamt, ‘WHORE OF BABYLON! REPENT! REPENT’ The woman froze in fear, shook, then tried to break away. Moses held fast & seemed ready, willing, & able to smite the unrepentant alleged harlot. As I drew nearer the scene I easily separated the duo. Moses shrunk back into his world. As I tried to tell him it was unwise to proselytize in such a way, the woman took off her heels, said nothing, & ran in pantyhosed terror toward downtown. No words of thanks were spoken & I have never seen the woman since. Moses, however, still haunts the Uptown & Downtown areas.
  But, dammitall, I promised you EVIL upbraided- not just wackiness. So let me move on to the Minneapolis Skyway’s MOST notorious & nefarious denizen. Return here next week for that tale!

Part 2
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, cosmoetica@att.net, 10/5/01

  In last week’s edition I promised you the Skyway’s most wicked denizen. Now I deliver- but as with most such characters I do not know the man’s real name. But over the last few years AT&T employees have recounted many similar tales of this individual’s wickedry. I had my 1st encounter with him almost 2 years ago. Returning through the Skyway of the Hilton Hotel with a bag of Bruegger’s Bagels for a food day breakfast at work, I was passing by Le Cache Variety Shop when my 6th Sense buzzed, & told me to jump out of the way. I was right to do so because speeding silently by me in a motorized wheelchair was a bespectacled slumping white man of 35-40. He kept going without apology. I shook my disbelieving head because it was famed physicist Steven Hawking! No. As with the cliché, it was Hawking’s evil doppelganger- thus I dubbed the famed fiend of AT&T lore with his mythic monicker: Evil Hawking! But why?, say you. Surely it was an accident & the man was in a hurry? & surely who holds grudges against the crippled? Well, here is why he is evil: he hates the able-bodied & takes every opportunity to deliberately run into them with his wheelchair, hoping to inflict pain. Witness:
  As I recovered from my near rundown, I kept heading for the AT&T building where, in the same Skyway I would later save a woman from Mosaic conversion, I saw a 40ish white woman in heels leaning against the railing & weeping. Her back right ankle was bleeding. Evil Hawking was vanishing into the distance when I asked: ‘Did that guy in the wheelchair clip you?’ The woman wailed yes. I rendered assistance & got her to the nearest help desk. A dire legend was aborning! A dozen or so other times I would see the dour disabled demon prowling downtown Skyways, leaving a swath of pain in his wake. Then 1 day it happened- Evil Hawking went ballistic. It was a Friday & I was returning from the Wells-Fargo building after cashing my paycheck. The Baker Center glass doors to the Skyway crossing over to the TCF Tower usually open by pushing the handicapped button. Evil Hawking knew this. But this day, to his horror, the electricity was turned off for a while as a young black custodian cleaned the glass. As I passed by the man apparently had not opened the door quickly enough for the Evil One. Hawking raged, ‘Open the door! OPEN THE GODDAMN DOOR!’ amongst other epithets I cannot relay in such a medium as this. The handyman was taken aback as Hawking called him every name in the book, almost daring the factotum to lay a hand upon him. The young man, instead, finished, hung his head, & walked away as Hawking berated him further. Hawking had gone over the edge! People looked, but would not stand up to the seated Satan!
  Then, about 3-4 months ago my constitutional took me southbound in the Lutheran Brotherhood building Skyway. From down the long corridor I spied HIM humming toward me. I looked about. We were ALONE! I knew he only clipped others in deserted skyways & if you were not looking. I kept my eyes trained on him as we passed. He eyed me. I looked backward in safety. From about 10 feet away it happened! JUSTICE! A motor seemed to blow- or his battery died- or something sputtered. Hawking’s chair conked out. He was immobile- & at least 100 feet from the nearest doors. He cursed! Frantically played with his hand controls. The stranded monster looked my way as I smirked & left the Skyway. I watched for over a minute as he wailed & swore- no one came to help! As I left him behind I reveled in 1 of the few instances of justice I’d ever experienced. Since that day I have not seen Evil Hawking. Did anyone help? I do not know. Do you? But to those who despair over recent events- take comfort in knowing not all evil deeds go unpunished! Just ask Evil Hawking next time he runs into you!

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