The story begins in the way that a true-to-life political thriller should begin: with a cop in chase, getaway bicycles, a couple of hammers and, of course, latex gloves.
You know immediately the story has to lead somewhere intriguing. But if you were able to figure out the surprise twist at story's end well, what may be the story's end you ought to be working with John le Carre instead of wasting your time doing whatever it is that you waste your time doing.
Our drama, as you may have guessed, could be titled Hammergate. Two male suspects are seen at the Democratic Party headquarters on Santa Fe Drive a little past 2 a.m. Tuesday, banging away with hammers at the big glass windows adorned with the Obama posters heralding a new era of health care reform.
But a cruising cop spies the suspects in midhammer, which, I have to say, is never the best way to be seen at 2 in the morning.
The cop gives chase. The vandals drop their hammers, hop on their bikes and soon split up. The cop, on foot, chases the biker who has, according to the police report, a shirt over his face, which may have not helped in tracking his getaway path. The cop apparently in very good shape catches the biker, well, not exactly red-handed, because he's wearing those latex gloves, presumably so he wouldn't leave fingerprints at the scene. But the cop catches him nonetheless.
It's only later that we learn the failed fleer belongs to a bike collective. Maybe if he had joined a Corvette Club, it would have all turned out differently. But I don't want to get ahead of the story.
The crime, at this point, seems pretty clear-cut. Either (and this was always a long shot) we had some celebrating Rockies fans incensed at San Francisco Giants Democrats.
Or we had a couple of anti-health care reform types, who instead of bringing guns to a demonstration brought hammers to a window-bashing.
By the time I awoke and learned of the story, the blogs were alive with Nazi references and Kristallnacht references and, as one poster ominously put it, "so it begins."
Then the cops released the name of our DP Hammer, a.k.a. Maurice Joseph Schwenkler, whose name is, of course, ready-made for the Google. And so it really began. Suddenly, in our tale of broken glass if not broken dreams nothing was as it seemed.
Googling revealed that 24-year-old Schwenkler or someone with the same name and birth date had been arrested in St. Paul, Minn., during the 2008 Republican National Convention for unlawful assembly, which seemed like an odd thing for a right-wing, anti-health reform type to be doing.
Interestingly, Schwenkler was arrested around 2 a.m. in both instances. Talk about your midnight rambler. (Sing along with Mick: "I'm gonna smash down all your plate-glass windows/Put a fist, put a fist through your steel-plated door.")
And further investigation revealed an even stranger bit of intelligence. It appears that Schwenkler was paid $500 by the Colorado Citizens' Coalition a left-leaning political 527 organization to canvass for a Democratic candidate in a 2008 state representative's race.
And then there was this: Schwenk ler's listed address at the time of his canvassing was at the former site of the Derailer Bicycle Cooperative, which is a collective that fixes bikes for those who can't afford them and for all we know may well be involved in other, similarly suspicious do-gooder activities.
So, what were Schwenkler and as-yet-unknown collaborator allegedly up to?
How would you write the story?
Would they be lefty, anarchist, probably vegetarian eco-friendlies who believed the Democrats were selling out on health care reform and wanted to register their dissatisfaction by knocking out a bunch of windows at Colorado's Democratic headquarters?
OK, that seems far-fetched even for this story.
Would they be pro-health care activists who thought the best way to further their cause was to knock out those very same windows and hope that the blame would fall on the angry anti-health care protesters and therefore, uh, well, I don't know what it would do exactly.
Still far-fetched? Maybe. But it does sound like the kind of plan you could come up with only if you're 24 or younger.
Maybe they were just two people who believe fervently in that old line that whenever you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail apparently including $11,000 worth of plate glass.
It's a mystery that may become clearer today when Schwenkler appears in Denver District Court on a criminal-mischief charge.
Or it could be that we're left looking through a bunch of broken glass darkly which is the way any self- respecting writer prefers, so long as somebody else is willing to clean up the shards.