#704: Where I Was

October 26th, 2016 § permalink

I sipped from the little plastic cup as the bearded man with a skinny T-shirt that either advertised a band or a beer chattered on about ABVs and IBUs.

But I wanted RBIs. » Read the rest of this entry «

#703: Stunt Priest

October 24th, 2016 § permalink

The trailers were back by the AMA building. » Read the rest of this entry «

#702: Don Juan of the Western Sharpshooters

October 21st, 2016 § permalink

From the June, 30, 1863 Chicago Tribune:

WANTED — A Correspondence with a young lady of intelligence, vivacity, and a cultivated mind by one of Uncle Sam’s gay young Nephews, who wears a fine coat and shoulders a rifle, and who having endured the hardships and encountered the dangers of several active campaigns, finds himself now lying in garrison, with very little prospect of having to take the field again very soon, and is growing tired of inactivity. He has therefore concluded to enter on his own account into a campaigne [sic] of love, with his pen and ink for his army of conquest, and Cupid for his Aid, and takes this mode of challenging the fair readers of the Tribune. Should any young lady of the above description feel belligerent enough to risk an engagement with a handsome son of Mars in the lists of love, she has only to write as sweet a note as she can afford to, to “Don Juan” Co. G, Western Sharpshooters Corinth Miss. and the challenge will be considered accepted and the contest begin. She must prepare herself to abide the consequences and he will do likewise. Real name will be given if desired, and photographs will be exchanged if agreeable to the lady.

It’s late at night. I’m on vacation. I can’t stop reading this dead man’s words. » Read the rest of this entry «

#701: Away

October 19th, 2016 § permalink

I can see the Enwave building from here. That’s the squat little riverside icebox that acts as chiller for the office buildings around.

I see the Van Buren Street bridge too, and the bottom of the salmon-colored skyscraper that’s topped with the light bulb castle that blares like a beacon at night. Tour boats and Lower Wacker drivers coast by silently at eye level. Pontoons and rec boats cruise a little lower.

It smells like burnt carbon underground. » Read the rest of this entry «

#700: If You See Something

October 17th, 2016 § permalink

Long day, night ride home, semi-full Brown Line car of muddlers and murmurers chastened and exhausted by their own long days.

And an entirely empty corner.

An empty spot on a late rush hour train is not to be trusted. It’s usually a sign of a cloud of BO from a particularly unkempt street person or a wet spot that runs the line between suspiciously disturbing and disturbingly suspicious.

But I sniffed and noticed nothing. Until I looked and saw why the car had given the entire corner a wide berth. » Read the rest of this entry «

#699: Open 24 Hours

October 14th, 2016 § permalink

The girl was pretty, young, big light blue glassy eyes.

The glassiness wasn’t from tiredness. She was too young to be tired. She was tired of, not tired in general.

She was tired of work, she was tired of being in a crisp white shirt and a black Golden Nugget Pancake House Family Restaurant apron. She was tired of being in a diner completely empty but for staff and a lanky boy with long, ratty hair waiting for her in a closed-off section.

But no, she wasn’t tired. She was just tired of. » Read the rest of this entry «

#698: The Cubs vs. The Fightin’ TBDs

October 12th, 2016 § permalink

On Oct. 11, 2016, the Chicago Cubs clinched their second consecutive NLCS berth after a pulse-pounding comeback against the San Francisco Giants.

And due to my stupid fascination with the days of hats and suits, I’ll miss the first two games. » Read the rest of this entry «

#697: The Woman in the Dick Tracy Hat

October 10th, 2016 § permalink

Here’s the story, all its parts:

I was sitting in a leafy spot by the federal prison parking garage, waiting for a tour group for the walking tours I run.

Across the street, a lady walked by with a Dick Tracy-style yellow fedora. She had a milk crate slung in front of her. When she passed a beggar, she pulled a plastic-wrapped sandwich out of the crate. He looked at her, she looked at him, and he took the sandwich.

She kept walking south and I lost her behind an SUV at the stoplight.

That’s it. That’s all. And wow.

Wow. » Read the rest of this entry «

#696: Objects in Space

October 7th, 2016 § permalink

Young and black, dressed in the way that’s style to some and a night terror to others, he leaned over the escalator railing talking to everyone heading down to the subway platform.

“How ya doing? How ya doing? How ya doing?” he said to everyone as they scampered down the subway rabbit hole.

“How ya doing?” he said to me.

“Oh I’m doing fine,” I said, not looking back as I continued my scamper down.

A few seconds later, I heard a call after me. » Read the rest of this entry «

#695: Out of Time

October 5th, 2016 § permalink

“Excuse me… ah… excuse me… ah… ah… ah…”

I waited, wondering the proper amount of time before I could tell him I had no change. It took a few moments before I realized he wasn’t asking.

“My watch… has… my watch has… my watch… has run out of time,” he said. » Read the rest of this entry «

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