By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
While most people lament their fate when they find themselves seated in a cubicle, typing away while surrounded by others doing the exact same thing, like some sort of sad-sack, plugged-in prairie-dog colony, me not so much. Because I have embraced my prairie-dog status and created a series of escape tunnels beneath the Westword building. But even inside the building, I've found ways to divert myself from the task at hand — because the view from the front windows offers some of the best people-watching in Denver. Directly across the street is the Planned Parenthood headquarters, and if you think I don't enjoy watching guilty teens dart through those glass doors in search of information on free condoms and STD checks, friend, you and I had best get reacquainted. South of our office is some sort of physical-therapy/X-ray/rehab joint that caters to the most horrifically injured people imaginable! All right, some of them are suffering from seemingly minor injuries, but others, God help 'em, have clearly sustained severe injuries — we're talking hips broke, elbows shooting out of arms, necks turned around like an owl. Sure, I feel sorry for them and hope the place next door helps them heal soon. But if someone outside your office window spends 25 minutes struggling to get out of the car, all be-crutched and swearing and frazzled, I'm pretty sure you're going to watch with interest, too.
And lately this stretch of Broadway between Ninth and Tenth avenues has gotten all Emeril on that ass and kicked it up a notch. Because the po-po be frequenting the scene. Over the past month, I've noted four separate occasions when police officers have posted themselves in the parking lot north of our building — a parking lot owned by our landlord and used by many Westword employees — and waited like hawks to snag unsuspecting motorists who happen into the far-right southbound lane, which is what they call a bus lane. And at certain times of the day — times indicated by yellow lights flashing above the lane — this stretch of concrete is not to be used for anything except people turning right and buses carrying poor people.
I recently sat and watched for hours as a cop pulled over car after car for neglecting to obey this arcane traffic law. At first I enjoyed it. Cruel voyeur that I am, I find it interesting to see how people sweat and clumsily fumble for their license and registration. But after a while, it got to be a drag, like those repeat whores I always see at Planned Parenthood who you just want to grab by their faces and shout, "Honey, baby, close your fucking legs!" The constant police activity also began to offend me. Westword is a rag of the people and I am a writer of the people, and I did not enjoy seeing this city's fine citizens ticketed by a police officer who was using our parking lot as a launching pad. Would these people wonder if Westword had commissioned the Denver Police Department to persecute our street? I decided it needed to stop.
So I put in a call to the DPD and talked to spokesman Sonny Jackson, who informed me that if one does not care for a police officer using one's lot to engage in police activity, all one has to do is ask the officer not to. He also said that many people like having a police presence near their business, since the officers can respond to any situations that might arise and provide a good community service. But I don't like having cops around. They make me nervous, have ever since I recorded "Fuck tha Police" with my former rap group N.W.A. back in '88. Since then, the cops have had it in for me. Dre, too.
So to the officer who has been using the Westword lot, I am officially asking that you cease and desist. From my window, I will monitor this southbound strip and make sure it is respected with all the reverence it deserves. Seeing as I don't own this building and have never met our landlord — I'm sure you're a great dude, thanks for cleaning up the bum piss so quickly — I'm not sure I'm qualified to make this request. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm not. But I'm making it, anyway. Because this is Westword, the rag of the people, and you cops need to take that shit elsewhere.
Go pull 'em over in front of the Denver Post.