#992: Morning at the Huddle House

October 12th, 2018 § permalink

The woman in the hairnet with the inside-out Gildan T-shirt — the budget, budget, budget brand of the company that slings their high-end wares for top dollar at American Apparel — scrounged for the broken English that would get her the order of eggs, hashbrowns and single dollar bills in change rather than the five.

She shuffled from the diner counter to the vending machine against the wall.

“My dreams, they aren’t as empty,” The Who wailed from the radio as the woman fed the bills into the Lotto scratch ticket machine. “As my conscience seems to be.”

It was morning at the Huddle House Grill. » Read the rest of this entry «

#798: Lurch

June 2nd, 2017 § permalink

There’s a point to the ride where you learn to hate doughnuts. » Read the rest of this entry «

#748: Rise and Fall of the American Stuff Store

February 6th, 2017 § permalink

It’s a bolder smell than taste, although the flavor lingers the longer I  let it steep.

The smell wafted full and strong from the box, but put in water it’s gentle and nudging. I like it more with each sip, but can’t explain the taste, either by experience or by ingredients. According to the side of the box, the ingredients in masala tea are tea and masala flavour, with one of those superfluous U’s countries that get worked up about cricket seem to employ.

At the end, it tastes like cheap chai I bought from a corner store. » Read the rest of this entry «

#730: The Metaphoric Parable of the Pies That Actually Represent Other Concepts Than Pies – An Allegory

December 26th, 2016 § permalink

A pie showed up on my doorstep the other day.

It showed up on the doorstep I use every day, so it was quite convenient for me. I guess I could have gone out and purchased a pie, or at least asked for a free pie from any of the many bakeries I know and trust, but this pie showed up on the doorstep I use every day in a convenient and consumable format.

It even had a fork and a little sign that said “Eat me.”

So I did.

And I got violently ill. » Read the rest of this entry «

#535: The Daylight Artists

September 28th, 2015 § permalink

He stood on a rock in the little trickling creek, can of spray paint in hand.

He cocked his head slightly, looking at the work before him. It was a half-filled, gothic-style, yellow, lower-case b, the latest level of glitzy glam glowy graffiti beneath a railroad bridge turned trail in the woods of Gompers Park.

He leaned forward past the point where he could stand on his own. Planting his paint-smeared Chuck Taylors firmly on the rock jutting out from the little creek, he fell forward. This was the plan. He hit the wall, holding himself hypotenuse to the right triangle of underpass and water with his left hand.

Holding himself against the wall, he gently gently gently shaded back and forth, back and forth with the spray can, yellowing the innards of the half-filled b. » Read the rest of this entry «

#442: Across Pulaski, Across Cicero

February 23rd, 2015 § permalink

For all the North Side’s talk of diversity, Albany Park is a neighborhood that really lives it.

It’s a place where posters for accordion-drenched Mexican Norteña bands get taped to the sides of Korean-language newspaper boxes. The walk west along Lawrence brings Ecuadorian restaurants, Indo-Pak grocery bazaars, barbershops with signs that say both “Se Habla Español” and “Free WiFi,” travel agencies with hand-painted signs promising low-cost trips to “India, Pakistan, Europe, Middle East, S. America & Africa.”

It’s a place where people work, live, breathe alongside each other. » Read the rest of this entry «

#422: Rex, a Lion

January 7th, 2015 § permalink

An email from my mother, early Tuesday morning:

“When she was a little girl in Chicago, Grandma wondered why there were men pulling carts through the streets yelling, ‘Rex, a lion.’ » Read the rest of this entry «

#187: The Five-Foot Garden at Avers

July 8th, 2013 § permalink

The birdbath was the one thing people weren’t supposed to take from the five-foot garden at Avers and Lawrence.

A sense of peace, a sense of joy, a sense of pride in the community, sure. Even the chives, tomatoes and spearmint planted in the little grassy area between street and sidewalk were there to vanish.

“Just for people to take,” said Nancy Leginski, 73, of the Jensen Community Organization. “There are hungry people in Albany Park.”

But the birdbath wasn’t there to be taken. So that’s what someone did. » Read the rest of this entry «

#80: Flip of a Coin

October 31st, 2012 § permalink

I looked the smiling man in the eye.

“Hold on. Let me check,” I said, flicking a 50-cent piece in the air.

The coin spun for a just a moment before landing in my hand. It was tails, so I sold my soul to the devil. » Read the rest of this entry «

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