#374: The Bitch Nun

September 17th, 2014 § permalink

He isn’t screaming anymore.

He’s not yelling “Fuck! FUCK!” like he was a few minutes back. He isn’t weeping into a phone, shouting through tears “I want to kill myself. I want to commit suicide.”

The man in my front yard isn’t screaming anymore. He’s no longer yelling about Sarah. » Read the rest of this entry «

#373: Five People Living in the Same World

September 15th, 2014 § permalink

I was a bit too stunned to ask the men why they were carrying crates of live pigeons.

I don’t even know if “crates” is the right word. Trays of pigeons? Pallets of pigeons? Port-o-coops?

Whatever the contraptions were called, the men piled out of the mid-sized car carrying two of them just packed to the brim with pigeons. » Read the rest of this entry «

#372: The Descendents

September 12th, 2014 § permalink

Before a crowd of every aging punk in Chicago, the band lined up and tried not to tell the Houston story.

They hemmed and hawed, drummer Bill Stevenson of the Descendents and All alternately cackling at and begging off from my shouted request to tell “the best story that didn’t make it into the movie.”

“Let’s just say when Bug fucks ‘em, they stay fucked,” bass player Karl Alvarez finally concluded to the crowd. » Read the rest of this entry «

#371: Catch and Release

September 10th, 2014 § permalink

It’s a car wash at the north end of Lincoln Square.

Damen is about to curve around the cemetery a hair to the north.

It’s dark and a man is whapping a floor mat against the brick base around an industrial vacuum. A dozen feet away, a woman is next to their car, leaning against the brick base around another industrial vacuum for people to clean their own cars. » Read the rest of this entry «

#370: Trunnion Bascule

September 8th, 2014 § permalink

He was older, with a dusty blue ball cap over sagging slacks and shirt. It wasn’t the dirtiest outfit in the world, just a little ragged about the edges.

The only clue he was homeless was the salvaged chair cushion he was stuffing into the Michigan Avenue Bridge. » Read the rest of this entry «

#369: The Dill Pickle Club, 2014

September 5th, 2014 § permalink

There once was an orange door

Down an alley off the ritzy street.

Down the alley, on the right side, the backs of houses. Luxury houses. Fancy brownstones a couple million a pop in the Near North Side. People walk toy dogs here.

On that right side of the alley, a lanky man in a polo shirt and expensive haircut starts an electric barbecue grill in a fenced-in back staircase. “Honey,” he calls, turning his head toward an unseen woman inside.

On the left side of the alley, a three-level parking garage. The fronts of SUVs and crossovers peek through the chain link saving the parked cars from alley dwellers like me and whoever scribbled “Trust Only Vandals” on one of the Dumpsters.

There once was an orange door here.

There once was an orange door and a sign that said “Step High, Stoop Low, Leave Your Dignity Outside.”

This yuppie alley once housed the Dill Pickle Club, the center of bohemian counterculture in the 1920s. » Read the rest of this entry «

#368: The Birthday Present

September 3rd, 2014 § permalink

I’m writing this about 10 hours before you’ll see this. It’s 8 p.m. Sept. 2, 2014.

Ten years ago tonight, my friends and I went out to get smashed at the Billy Goat. We did that a lot, in retrospect.

My out-of-town girlfriend was in town. We started to fight. We did that a lot too, in retrospect. » Read the rest of this entry «

#367: The Startling Discovery of René Magritte

September 1st, 2014 § permalink

“I believe that I have made an absolutely startling discovery in painting – a new potential inherent in things, their ability to gradually become something else.”

– René Magritte, 1927 » Read the rest of this entry «

#366: Little John’s Unsolved Problem

August 29th, 2014 § permalink

I heard her before I saw her. It was an approaching mumbling from behind as I waited on my bike at Damen and Addison.

The mumbling would break into words – I heard “Your Metra” and “With” at different points. But I didn’t turn around only because I didn’t realize she was talking to me.

Then there she was. » Read the rest of this entry «

#365: Why Write? A Letter to my Nephew

August 27th, 2014 § permalink

This isn’t really a letter to my nephew. It’s going to have swear words in it and a section on what some women find sexy – neither are really pertinent to a 9 year old.

What is pertinent is the amount of writing the fourth grade requires. » Read the rest of this entry «

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