Letters from Chicago, Volume II: Bursts of Inquiry

I was hovered over a trash can outside Walgreen’s fiddling with a book of stamps I bought for nine dollars because they only sold books; right after I told Dan I wouldn’t give him five bucks to buy Bailey’s so we could put it in our coffees at the shop. I only had fifteen to my name, man.

A girl with all-white balloons asked me if I wanted to take a survey. I asked how many questions. She said one. Raspberries or Toilet Paper? Raspberries. She asked if she could ask another. Of course. Mushrooms or Blue? Reluctantly, blue.

She said my new name was Bricklayer of Men and slapped a Hello, My Name Is … on my chest, slipping around the corner before I could compose myself to ask her any questions.

*            *            *            *

I turned around to find Dan comforting a tender, yellow lab while her owner was inside. Opposite the sliding entry doors was a mutt with dirty coat, strong muscles, and a rigid frame. Obeying my natural inclinations towards symmetry and Dan’s encouragement: “Pat the other dog dude”, I did.

Homedog wasn’t particularly loving, and when I went to scratch the charcoal grey underside of his tight neck he lunged at my face with an intimidating snarl, snapped his leash, and gracefully trotted inside.

I scurried in to tell the lady I was just trying to keep him company, but she was too frazzled from warding off questions from employees about whether she was blind enough to have a dog inside.

A dirty chai whittled me down to a dollar, but I had all the answers I wanted in the swirling froth of my tea cup.

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