Night Spies | Night Spies | Chicago Reader

Night Spies 

We are at the Congress Plaza Hotel.

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August 6, 1985, was the 40th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb. My brother and I and some friends made a banner with the slogan "Nuclear clouds have no silver lining." A friend of ours had discovered that the Congress Hotel did not lock the doors to the roof. After calling the press about our rooftop protest, a friend and I waited across the street in the bushes and saw . . . nothing! It turns out that there was a ledge and to get the banner to unfurl they had to lean over it. One of the guys was deathly afraid of heights, so he's holding the other guy, who is leaning over. They finally get it unfurled, and the banner that we thought was absolutely huge was unnoticeable from--what, 13, 16 stories up? It was a complete disaster. My friend took out a Polaroid camera, because of course when you're doing something stupid you want to document it, but all he got was pictures of black. After that they started locking the door, so we never got our banner back. We're assuming somebody found it, but who knows--maybe our banner is still there, and then our protest wouldn't have been in vain. Every time I drive by I look up and hope to see it.

--James D. Wolf Jr., writer/illustrator

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