Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Alley Behind The Alley, Several Saturdays Ago

This goes back to the Saturday night I watched THE 3:10 TO YUMA with Larry and Tycelia at their pad. They live just down the block from where the Dillinger film was shooting a scene yesterday. I started on my trip north a bit later in the day, avoiding some of the train crowding whenever there is a home game at Wrigley Field. Lots of folks drive to Midway and park, then pile on the train. Hell, its cheaper than going to see the Sox, but I tend to enjoy reading with as little background noise as possible, I've learned to accept *sigh* cell phones, particularly because a fair amount of people on the train have recently gotten off a plane and are headed wherever for whatever reason they came back to the big, bad city. But even sober baseball fans can be noisy. So I left to get the train later and missed all that crap. Bounced around downtown for a few minutes before grabbing the Red Line, a few stops after a guy in Army desert fatigues stepped through the door and I moved a seat over, he thanked me and we then had a conversation about the Skrulls invasion when he saw the comic I had in my hands. I was surprised to hear how up-to-date the comic readers stationed in Iraq were, I don't know why I would have thought otherwise. When I worked at Chaos In Print in the early 90s, several stores put together an effort to send overstock to the guys during the first Gulf War. (I've mentioned in an older blog post on how one of our regular customers had his folks pick up his comics once he went to Kosovo to fight--as a freedom fighter in his native country--and how they came in months later, saying that there was no need to put aside the Captain Americas and the X-Mens because their son had been killed). So it was one of those cool conversations I sometimes find myself stumbling into, and, because I had moved a seat over, next to the window, I felt a familiar crackle and clink when I moved my left foot. Anyone riding public transit here will know that sound to be a pint liquor bottle in a bag. One that costs less than the Avengers comic I held in my hand that day. I snagged it up with my own backpack at Belmont, surprised by the weight. Sure enough (and sadly enough for whoever had dropped a buck twenty), the bottle of Wild Irish Rose had not even been opened. I knew I had a prop now for some photos. I walked towards Clark Street, then went into the alley behind The Alley, a staple of the neighborhood, selling motorcycle jackets, cop jackets, shirts that say CHICAGO HOMICIDE: Our Day Begins When Yours Ends or What Would Jesus Do For A Klondike Bar? To one side, there's a tattoo parlor and a joint called Egor's Dungeon that sells sex toys. To the other, a Dunkin Donuts. Well, I've been having fun running off at the keyboard about my day a month back, so I present to you the photos I took of the icons spray-painted on the back wall of The Alley. I cropped the middle one with Marilyn because it was off-center, Mr. Shaky Hands and all, but I was quite pleased with my effort. And I love the late afternoon glow on that cheap bottle of hooch, which I left behind as a present for someone else who could make better use of the stuff...Wayne