#869: The Shooter

December 29th, 2017 § permalink

“You know my human brain story?” I asked my wife.


“That was him.”

“Ah.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#868: I Shall Hunt and Destroy Andre Salles

December 27th, 2017 § permalink

More years ago than I care to admit, I was lost in the snow outside the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#867: You Can Just Walk In

December 25th, 2017 § permalink

If you’re stuck downtown with a rolling suitcase and an hours-long gap between work’s Christmas-early quitting time and the flight that will take you to the non-Midwest family that scored a bid to host this year, there are places you can just walk in. » Read the rest of this entry «

#866: The Xylophone Solo

December 22nd, 2017 § permalink

Across the bowling alley: cheers, groans, the thick whomps of thrown balls landing to skitter down the boards, the clinking of pitchers, the cry of “Tamale! Tamale!”

Above the bowling alley: xylophone. » Read the rest of this entry «

#865: Wood-Paved Alleys

December 20th, 2017 § permalink

There’s a block where, if you have to step aside for a car slowly rolling down crackling alley pavement, the car is a Bentley.

There’s a block where even the back entryways are tastefully decorated — can’t seem unseemly even to the rats and covert urinators who seek alleys as habitat.

There’s a block where tall staircases lead to immaculate brick homes with Christmas tree fairy lights and the everyday crystal chandeliers glinting and glowing out the windows.

And I was hunting these streets for an alley made of wood. » Read the rest of this entry «

#864: The 16th Artist

December 18th, 2017 § permalink

He’s building a slave ship in the basement.

He wants noises and lights outside the faux portholes to create the sensation of a sea at motion. He wants creaks of timber and he wants the wax replicas of chained slaves to feel like human skin to the touch. He wants a fog machine to perfume the air with a light reek of feces, urine, vomit and the other human rot that brought millions of Africans to America in chains.

It’s not just any ship Sam Smith wants to build in the basement of a restored Englewood mansion. It’s the Zong, which provided one of the most horrifying stories of one of the most horrifying eras of human history. » Read the rest of this entry «

#863: Me and Julio

December 15th, 2017 § permalink

I have a neighbor who doesn’t know my name.

He does, sort of. He knows it now and again, “Paul, right?” I say yes. He asks the same question about my wife’s name. I confirm he got that right too.

I don’t mind that he barely remembers me. I mainly know him because of Rocky, his little dog he walks in the morning, at night and presumably in between while I’m at work. Outside my apartment window is one of Rocky’s favorite spots for business, so I see the little black-and-white furball with his skittering little paws and the lumbering old Latino in the Cubs hat more often than they see me.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#862: The Secret History of Illinois License Plates

December 13th, 2017 § permalink

Vanity license plates are one of the strangest displays of clout Illinois offers. They’re highly sought after and passed down through politically connected families for generations, with the lower number the bigger display.

“Low-number plates, that shows you have big you-know-whats,” an anonymous political operative told Chicago Tribune Magazine in 1999. » Read the rest of this entry «

#861: State Matters

December 11th, 2017 § permalink

She was waiting for someone else to care. That never goes well. » Read the rest of this entry «

#860: A Virus with My Initials

December 8th, 2017 § permalink

In a few hours, my virus will glow. » Read the rest of this entry «

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