Essays, Interviews, Observations, Pop Culture, Stories, and other Dodginess

An Impromptu Dance in Logan Square

Posted on July 15, 2015

I had a pint at Quenchers Saloon before I left my Bucktown neighborhood to help Mosquito run an errand at some small town in Indiana.

He said he had to pick up photography equipment in a small town about 90 minutes over the state line. It was 6 p.m. on a Monday night and I had a nice Polish beer buzz and a McDonald’s chicken sandwich in my lap as we drove away on Interstate 94 before latching on to some state highway surrounded by cornfields. Mosquito can be an annoying talker during a road trip so I turned up the radio and read Chicago recluse author Clive Javanski’s latest essay, “Loose Pants.”

Here we were, driving in this beat up ’82 Scottsdale pick-up truck like a couple of assholes.  It’s like we were from the past and drove into the future where we were still losers, driving in this  But decades old pile of metal shit. Skinny wires were hanging out of several fissures in the dashboard.

To say the truck had no power steering was putting it lightly. When Mosquito made a turn his arms worked that wheel like a ship captain desperately trying to avoid an ice flow.

“I have to fix my vehicles,” he said.

Mosquito said the truck had its positives.

“It can haul anything.”

On the way I caught part of a billboard along the highway that read “$5 Trucker’s Special” I couldn’t tell if it was for a truck stop or strip club.

We arrived at some town hall where a town hall meeting was going on. Wallpaper with ducks surrounded the room. Someone named Padwick handed off a bunch of camera stuff to Mosquito.

I didn’t want to talk to him, but I did. He told me he once wrote a one-act play called “Everybody Dies.” He asked if we wanted to come over to his place because he had Abita beer in his fridge.

We made it back to Chicago in time to stop at my friend Ray’s small loft. It was a fancy rehabbed two bedroom loft in Logan Square. Denny Catzman was there. He does local theater and his girlfriend is a high school senior at Lane Tech.

Several years ago a strung-out coke whore was probably giving a two-dollar blow jobs in whatever decrepit building occupied this space. Tonight, in her place, we have Diamond-Eyes Denny Catzman, sipping a Cuba Libra and wearing ruby red boots.

I saw Aidan, who saw I brought Mosquito, leading him to ask why I brought “some 6-foot open sore with pants.”

Sasha, from our band UK Grief, suddenly started singing a Sleater-Kinney song. Everyone began to dance, including a cute Hispanic paramedic girl I was flirting with in the kitchen. I danced with her until she asked where the bathroom was, even though it was right over there. “Come with me,” she said. So I did.  We started making out and she told me bathroom sex turned her on.

A few hours later Mosquito and I were giving her a ride home. Her groping me distracted me from the shittiness of the truck we were in. An odd smell was coming through the air conditioning vents. After dropping her off she kissed me, stepped outside and said, “what the fuck did I just ride in?”

“I have to fix my vehicles,” Mosquito said to her as we drove off.

Kissing Her Sister

Posted on June 23, 2015


I found this Depeche Mode 1986 Black Celebration concert T-shirt at a Chicago thrift store. It’s the same one Shailene Woodley wore in White Bird in a Blizzard. 

It’s a little tight, even on my slender frame, but I still wore it to Mia Lucy’s party in Ukranian Village. Celice was there. I met her a few years ago when I dabbled in theater. I remember during play rehearsal one night – Celice won my heart when she wore a bandanna as a shirt.

We dated briefly. Celice was a better dancer than an actress, and she had the legs to prove it. She was the only girl who ever let me shave her legs, although it wasn’t my idea, she wanted me to.

“Hello Celice, it’s good to see you at Mia Lucy’s party,” I said.

She shrugged and said hi to my friend Aidan. I don’t think Celice ever saw Aidan’s penis, but she called him Cookie Dick.

I walked with Aidan to the kitchen where Chicago recluse author Clive Javanski was hanging out with some other assholes and two beautiful women. Clive took in instant like to my shirt and compared it to his very tight-fitting Smiths “Hatful of Hollow” tee that he sometimes wore. Bullshit, I told him, mine was better. He agreed. He signaled for me and Cookie Dick to step outside for a hit of something illegal, I assume, when I heard two words – words I’ve heard countless times but never so beautiful sounding.

“Hi Liffey.”

It was one of the two kitchen girls. Actually it was Keira, who I didn’t recognize. Keira was Celice’s sister, younger by a few years. She wore cute summer dress (better legs than Celice) and a Christian rock tee, even though she wasn’t Christian.

“Shailene Woodley – in that movie,” she said. “I loved that dance scene with her and her boyfriend.”

Keira was talking about the scene at a club where they danced to a remix of Depeche Mode’s “Behind The Wheel.”

She found the song on her phone and we hooked it up to Mia Lucy’s sound system. We turned it up and danced. If you’ve seen the movie, it was just like that.

Other people joined in. Mia Lucy was dancing with Aidan, Celice with Clive. I couldn’t tell you if they kissed at the end of the song, but Keira and I did. I don’t know if Celice saw us, nor did I care. I kissed her sister.

I think it was a fantasy of mine I didn’t know I had.

Coming Tuesday!: “Kissing Her Sister”

Posted on June 19, 2015

Somehow finding a vintage Depeche Mode concert shirt at a Chicago thrift store sends me on several paths – one of which I get to kiss the sister. The sister of the girl I used to love.


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