I could see someone running in the periphery to my right. However, I could not take my eyes off of the road for more than a second at a time. Traffic was heavy during the morning rush and each lane of the highway was packed. Still, I was drawn to the drama and felt compelled to watch.
The runner was dressed in sweat pants and a loose fitting jersey. He was initially parallel to the roadway but he turned slightly at about a 25-degree angle from the road, heading for the tenements ahead of and beside me. From that angle I could see him clearly as he disappeared into one building, exiting from the other side and then entering another.
He was being chased by uniformed police officers that could not possibly keep up with him. These city cops were no match for a wild boy. He was primal man running for his life.
My own heart was racing, as I became his invisible accomplice. I was pushing him, opening doors ahead of him, aiding and abetting his escape. He reminded me of a marathon runner putting all that he had into those last few yards before crossing the finish line. He was magnificent.
I had no idea of his plight. Murderer, rapist, burglar, drug dealer, wife beater, or traffic violator. It made no difference to me. At that moment, he was just a wild thing running. Perhaps it would be his last dash before he was locked in a cage. His last moments of freedom.
When the road turned I lost sight of the runner. It was over the way it began. Suddenly. I looked for a story in the paper, but there was none. I knew that he was not crowned with laurel that day, but in all probability he was handcuffed and pushed into the back of a police cruiser.
I'll never "know for sure."
Chip Taylor wrote the song Wild Thing. The most popular version performed by the Troggs.