#362: Uncle Go Paul

August 20th, 2014 § permalink

“Why do you call him Uncle Go Paul? He’s Uncle Paul because his name is Paul and he’s our uncle,” the older said to the younger.

“He’s Uncle Go Paul because we go places with him,” the younger replied.

I was touched. But not enough to get let them get a second thing of candy in the movie line. » Read the rest of this entry «

#361: The Ghost on the Dust Jacket

August 18th, 2014 § permalink

A wide-windowed bookstore lets the light in.

It lets the light shine on the paperbacks and hardcovers, on the genre books and the gimmicky think pieces. It lets the light shine on the copies of post-apocalyptic social satires and on the coming-of-age novelas and on the histories and the historical fictions and on the science-for-laymen and on the celebrity politico bio exposés.

A wide-windowed bookstore suns the books, the natural light making the dust jacket designs and author photos crisp and sharp and lovely.

It must have driven the woman nuts. » Read the rest of this entry «

#360: Grover

August 15th, 2014 § permalink

Grover hates it when they kill themselves.

“You’ve got to have a thick skin,” he said for the third or fourth time. “You’ve got to have thick skin.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#359: The Hecht Papers, Part 2 of 2

August 13th, 2014 § permalink

The Newberry Library’s collections include the personal effects and papers of Ben Hecht, whose 1920s newspaper column “1001 Afternoons in Chicago” inspired this project.

They’ll let you go through them if you get a Newberry Reader’s Card.

So I got one.

Part 1 ran on Monday » Read the rest of this entry «

#358: The Hecht Papers, Part 1 of 2

August 11th, 2014 § permalink

A gray-haired man who looks like Tom Waits took up clean livin’ sat at a table, methodically reviewing what looked to me like original colonial broadsheets.

In the corner, a stereotypical librarian-type from a 1940s comedy – thick glasses, heavy wool skirt and sweater and a tightly braided ponytail down to her ass – stood by her own table. She hovered between three rostra, a wood one for her laptop, a clear one for a heavy index book and a rolled pad-turned-bookstand for a magnificent browned tome.

When she turned around two hours later, I saw she couldn’t be more than 25. » Read the rest of this entry «

#357: Three Cases from the Mystery Book

August 8th, 2014 § permalink

The book was mid-level old. Yellowing paper and intermittent water stains from a less than cautious past library patron. The cover was wearing, the spine shifting back and forth, back and forth in my hand.

It was a scuffed brick-red, featureless but for some printing on that shifting spine in what was once gold, aged over time to brass.

“Cream of the Crime,” the spine read. “Mystery Writers of America Anthology.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#356: Czechsieland at the Triangle

August 6th, 2014 § permalink

The young girl in the red T-shirt got the next verse.

She was an indeterminately aged blonde teenager. A big smile and ponytail, maybe a bit of acne but not too much. Happy, sunny, laughing. And about to heft her banjo for the second verse to bust out in a clear, pealing and deeply Czech-accented alto.

“Oh ven ze sun, begins to shine, oh ven ze sun begins to shine,” she sang, strumming along on her banjo, her perfect voice curling around the audience of jazz fans, commuters and the lady selling cupcakes. “Oh ay vant to be in zat number, oh ven ze sun begins to shine.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#355: The Sideshow

August 4th, 2014 § permalink

She sits alone, leaning against a streetlight. She’s covered in balloons. » Read the rest of this entry «

#354: 20 Brats and 10 Steak Burgers

August 1st, 2014 § permalink

“What type of brats you want? We got a lot of type of brats,” he said, gesturing at a glass case of meat.

There were many type of brats. Andouille, curry, Gyulai, jalapeño pepper jack, lamb, Nurenberg, Sheboygan, tomato basil, cheddar, bacon cheddar, veal – I don’t eat veal.

“Pork, I guess?” I said. » Read the rest of this entry «

#353: The Guard and the Astronaut Suits

July 30th, 2014 § permalink

The art display was a room put in a room, a white space made to be like a cartoon villain executive’s office, complete with a spray painted Scrooge McDuck in case no one got the “capitalism bad” theme they got going there. » Read the rest of this entry «

  • Get stories by email