From the pages of CHOKEHOLD, “The nation’s leading wrestling/pop culture satire zine” number 70, May 18, 1996 (507 W. 43rd place, Chicago, IL 60609, $1.50 per issue)


By Lance LeVine

I actually have a link to the Unabomber case. A weak, indirect link, but a link nonetheless. Completely out of the blue recently, my path crossed with that of an old college friend, Noreen, who I hadn’t seen in about nine years. Noreen said she couldn’t believe it was me, that she’d been trying to get a hold of me for a few months. Seems the FBI was after me!

Noreen and I had attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, and if you recall, during the Unabomber hunt, the authorities felt he was from the Chicago area. She asked me if I remembered taking a creative writing class in school. Noreen’s friend Mo was in the class too, and it turns out the FBI had traced one of their suspects in the case to that very class and had interviewed Mo. At this point in the story, I stopped Noreen with my heart pounding and asked her the obvious: “They didn’t think it was me, did they?!” No, they didn’t. Jeez, the worst I’ve ever done is scam the record clubs out of a couple hundred CDs, I sure don’t need the Man coming down on me for being a murderous psychopath. And hey, keep that CD thing to yourselves, huh? Anyway, it turns out there was some radical camouflage-wearin’ goon, a la Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver in our class, and that was the guy the feds were after. I didn’t remember him at all. To complicate things even more, it turns out that this girl Mo is a pack rat and saves everything, including papers from college 12 years ago. She had kept all the stories we all had written for this class and turned them over to the FBI. They read the stuff and got back to her and wanted to interview me, based on my stories. They thought I was weird enough that I might have been buds with this suspect they were after!

I can only remember two of the tales I spun for this class. One was a spoof of the Bible, as if it had been written by a quartet of stoners a la Cheech and Chong. And the other story was a day in the life of a dog, told from the mutt’s perspective. So there’s some FBI agent reading my classy prose like, “So after I finished sniffing at Fifi’s ass, I made a beeline for that big pile of shit in the O’Malley’s yard for some real fun!” I can’t imagine why they’d link me with their bombing suspect.

So alas, I didn’t get the chance to entertain a federal agent with my charm and wit. But I do have two things to be proud of from this whole episode. First, I can take great satisfaction in the fact that a team of professional, uptight law enforcement officials stayed up late dissecting my goofy stories. And second, I have a great new line to lay on people upon being introduced at a party: “Yeah, I was sought by the FBI in the Unabomber case….”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Cover of “Chokehold”.