#953: The City Under

July 13th, 2018 § permalink

It was a natural turn for him, odd for us.

The wife, her father and I had agreed upon a suitable location for dinner and then strode further down the basement. Wordlessly, he turned. Wordlessly, we followed him down the basement path.

With the expert nature of a downtown dweller, he led us through revolving doors and past closing government offices. We went by barber shops and dry cleaners, past empty shoeshine stands and stores for chintzy Chicago memorabilia before popping out feet away from the destination we had planned in the city below.

We took the Pedway. » Read the rest of this entry «

#952: Her Eyes

July 11th, 2018 § permalink

We usually part in the morning. She leaves me behind before dawn’s crack during the school year. I let her go as the sun beats overhead when summer break starts.

No matter who leaves first, mornings are the time my wife and I say goodbye, chat about dinner and become our own selves for the day.

This week, though, she has business downtown. So I have company along my morning commute, the ‘L’ path among trees and towers. We rode the train together. My train. And I wonder if she saw. » Read the rest of this entry «

#951: Glitz, Glam and Theater Kids

July 9th, 2018 § permalink

Along Randolph Street, well-clad pairs line up to get The Shot.

Sometimes they’re romantic couples with lips on each other and eyes peering slideways to make sure they’re perfectly framed in the selfie borders. Sometimes they’re parent-child pairs — usually a teenage girl who, after The Shot, wants a solo picture on herself to gesturing Vanna White-ly at the poster gleaming on the outside wall.

Soon these The Shots will flood the internet. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, some other social medians I’m too old and crabby to know about. Then the world will see the eyes-slideways kiss-shot with the theater marquee in background. Then they’ll see the theater kid teen gesturing bravely at the box office. Then they’ll see, like, comment, heart, smiley, OMGLOL that their friend got The Shot that proves they went to a Broadway show.

I think I look fat in mine. » Read the rest of this entry «

#950: A Present to You and Me

July 6th, 2018 § permalink

With nervousness, I am releasing the first chapter of a book I’ve been working on for two years out into the internet for free, knowing I’m one Ctrl-V from a better-connected writer pitching a fantastic idea to a willing publisher.

I am doing this stupid, stupid thing for a few reasons: » Read the rest of this entry «

#949: A Poetry of Things

July 4th, 2018 § permalink

“This Pyrex dish was usually used to make rice pudding or bread pudding. I didn’t eat either but the dish and I were bonded together. When my mother died, I wanted that bond to continue. The dish was a way to feel close to my mother.”

“I just liked the antique aspect of the sewing machine. One day I’ll have it oiled and fixed.”

“I remember when my mother first originally gave me this plane. The look of excitement and glee she had on her face was unexplainable.”

A metal airplane decoration. A Pyrex dish. A grandmother’s sewing machine and the “misty, moist memories” from a hose used in a project’s garden. This is the story of public housing. » Read the rest of this entry «

#948: A Drink at Hinky Dink’s

July 2nd, 2018 § permalink

It’s the home of sweatshirts and domestic beer, Bud Light bottles and Steppenwolf overhead. Cubs on two TVs, Sox on two, but when the classic rock dies down, the sound is Sox, even in the seventh-inning stretch.

“-eanuts and Cracker Jack,” the guest singers for the late April Cubs game wordlessly mouth. » Read the rest of this entry «

#947: Fillet of Soul

June 29th, 2018 § permalink

I was alone amid the plastic palm trees, the stack of South Shopper coupon magazines and a display of Gospel Tract and Bible Society leaflets expounding fundamentalist Christianity.

Behind the door behind the counter behind the bulletproof Plexi, a woman worked to make my sandwich. I was left to poke around the empty pickup area of Dan’s Soul Food and Bakery on 79th in Ashburn.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#946: First They Came…

June 27th, 2018 § permalink

First they came for the immigrants, and I did not speak out—

Because when they go low, we go high. » Read the rest of this entry «

#945: The Chicago Corruption Walking Tour Book — A Hail Mary Pass with Dinosaurs

June 25th, 2018 § permalink

For the past two-ish years, I’ve been trying to find a publisher for a book version of the Chicago Corruption Walking Tour.

No dice.

So, in a sort of Hail Mary pass spurred by the fact the Field Museum moved SUE the T. rex out of the main hall so I have to find a new scene-setting bit for the intro anyway, here is the latest draft of the intro. Hopefully, it’ll whet your appetite to either take the tour or to say, “By gad, why I’m a publisher looking to find hot new properties that will appeal to adult nonfiction readers in the political science segment, the highest earner within Publisher Weekly’s History/Law/Political Science category, which saw 9.3 million unit sales in the first six months of 2017 — a 25 percent increase over the same six months in 2016! It makes great business sense to email this Paul fellow at 1001chicago@gmail.com!”

And if not, hey, at least you’re getting a fun read today. » Read the rest of this entry «

#944: The Ins of Court

June 22nd, 2018 § permalink

There are certain mornings that are wet, certain ones that are noir.

It’s a day when getting off a rain-blattered train stop at Washington and Wells dressed in smart if rumpled business attire seems like the only natural step, as if taking one step off the safe and well-trod will cast you into a world of intrigue, violence, the guffiniest of MacGuffins and finally learning the difference between a woman and a dame.

What better morning for hunting down a missing street? » Read the rest of this entry «

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