I grew up in a very conservative, Christian household. My parents follow a sect of Christianity known as Pentecostalism that adheres to a strict interpretation of the bible.
Now I know what most of you may be thinking. That must have sucked.
But actually, it was a good childhood. It kept me out of trouble.
Overall, I have no complaints about my childhood or being brought up in the church.
But even as a child as young as seven or eight, I noticed things about some of the church’s practices that seemed odd to me.
Take for example the belief in the ability to ”speak in tongues”. That’s when a practitioner is overcome with the “holy spirit” and acts as a vessel through which a message from God is transmitted.
It almost always happened during a period of musical “praise” where strings and synths were being played and the congregation was deep in a meditative state.
What resulted was a person speaking in some out-of-this-world language, to which, after a brief pause, either that person, or another chosen practitioner in the congregation would translate into English, or, in the case of my church, Spanish.
Not going to lie. At first that shit freaked me out as a kid. It also struck me as something that was a bit forced.
But like everything else weird and unusual, after seeing it several times, it became normal for me. It was far-fetched in my mind, but it was just something that happened.
For some odd reason one person spoke this martian language, and after a few seconds, someone else who apparently spoke the same language translated for the rest of us.
But then one day in church during one of those episodes, my young and bored mind had a thought: What if I translated the message? It seemed to me that it would be easy enough. All I had to do was close my eyes and appear to be deep in thought, throw my hands up in the air a couple times while delivering the message emphatically.
As I sat there listening to the person speaking martian, I quickly tried to come up with a message that held some meaning to my young mind. Something other than the “God wants you to be faithful and serve him” message usually served up.
Then it hit me: God wants you to take your children to Chuck E Cheese after the service and buy them pizza and let them play all the games they want.
It would be perfect. And all the fellas would think of me as some sort of hero, because surely if God says it, it will pass.
Sweet Jesus, it would be a miracle. Pizza and video games for everyone!
I brimmed with excitement. I could hardly contain myself. I rose to my feet and prepared to jump in with my translation as soon as the martian was done. I think I even cleared my throat and stretched my arms.
Then, as if he could sense his son was about to do some dumb shit, I caught a glimpse of my father who was giving me his always powerful, “boy-if-you-don’t-sit-your-butt-down-and-quit-whatever-it-is-you-think-you’re-about-to-do” look.
The dream was instantly dead. No pizza, no video games.
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-Hear about that guy we had the other day?
-Nah, what guy?
-The guy that almost blew his head off.
-Almost blew his head off? How the hell do you do that?
-With a shotgun.
-I mean, not what he used, but how?
-He went all Ernest Hemingway with it, only he didn’t do it right.
-I get the thing with the shotgun. But how the hell do you “almost blow your head off” with a shotgun. The damn thing has a pretty good spread. It’s a point and shoot type a thing.
-I don’t know, guess he wasn’t committed to the whole thing. Pulled the trigger, then tried to back away at the last second. Got half his face. We got to the call and he was walking around, trying to hold the blown off side together with the other side.
-Jesus. Poor bastard.
-What happened to him?
-Who knows? We dropped him off at the ED and the trauma team took over.
-Jesus, that’s fucked up.
-Really fucked up.
-He made his choice.
-Wanna know what’s really fucked up?
-Johnny was making his lasagna that night at the house.
-God, Johnny’s lasagna is the best.
-I know, that mother fucker can make a damn good pan of lasagna, for Mexican.
-So what happened?
We get back, and all the boys ate it all up. There was nothing left.
-Not even leftovers?
-Nothing. Those bastards ate it all up and didn’t even save us a plate.
-Now that’s fucked up. That’s just wrong.
-Who you telling? A guy can really work up an appetite on a call like that.
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“How’s it going, Ro?”
“You sure? You seem a little off.”
“No, I’m good, Stevie.”
“Alright. How was the ride in?”
“It was fine. Took the redline in. It’s Saturday night, so you already know it was packed with assholes.”
“Dude, I like not having to pay for parking when I take the train, but sometimes it’s worth paying the extra cash to avoid mixing in with the riff raff.”
“You’re right. I shouldn’t have been such a cheap ass and paid for parking tonight. So Stupid.”
“Dude, you sure you’re ok?”
“Listen, I’m going to tell you something.”
“But you can’t tell anyone else.”
“You just can’t…”
“…Jesus, dude, alright. Out with it already.”
“I’m pretty sure I got sexually assaulted on my way out of the subway station just now.”
“What do you mean by ‘sexually assaulted’ and by who?”
“I mean I got off the escalator at Chicago and State and started walking to work and got sexually assaulted.”
“What? Like someone attacked you on the street? Sexually assaulted how?”
“Stevie, I’m walking up Chicago towards Michigan Ave and someone grabs my ass.”
“Well, first, that’s not really a sexual assault. That’s some dude grabbing your ass as you walk by him…”
“…Whoa, who said it was a dude?”
“No, it was a girl.”
“You sure about that? That sounds like a perv dude thing to do.”
“I’m positive, I turned around and there was a group of girls walking past. Not a dude in sight.”
“You freakin’ kidding me? Was she hot?”
“I don’t know, I only saw her back. She had one of those long North Face coats girls wear and some knee-high boots on.”
“So let me get this straight, you’re walking to work and a girl, who may or may not have been hot–but probably was hot–grabbed your ass and you’re all bent out of shape about it? Get over it, already.”
“Stevie, it was an unwanted advance. I’m a gentleman. You can’t just go around grabbing my ass. And besides, I have a girlfriend. I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate some random chic fondling me on the street.”
“Well did you tell her about it?”
“What’d she say?”
“She made some jokes about it and said, ‘You do have a nice butt.’”
“Ha! You see, even your girlfriend can see the humor in it.”
“Whatever, man. It’s creepy. And a double standard. And not funny.”
“Sensitive Nancy over here… I wish girls would grab my ass. I’d take it as a compliment.”
“Well I should’ve chased her down and slapped her on the ass.”
“Whoa, whoa, man. You can’t be doing that.”
“What? Why the hell not?”
“Cause that’s just creepy, and wrong and not funny at all. She’s a lady. You can’t be slapping a random lady’s ass.”
“You’re an asshole.”
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“I can’t find it.”
“Can’t find what?”
“Damn son of a bitch, my shit’s missing.”
“Don’t start this shit, Ron. It’s time to go.”
“My eye patch. Where the hell is my eye patch?”
“What eye patch, Ron?”
“My eye patch, mother fucker. I had an eye patch with my shit. Now it’s gone.”
“Ron, everything you came in with is in this bag, so cut the shit.”
“Not my eye patch. The shit’s not here.”
“Why the hell do you have an eye patch for?”
“Cause I do.”
“Come on, Ron, it’s time to go. You’ve been here all night, we’ve let you sleep, now you have to go. Stop stalling.”
“I ain’t stalling, I want my patch. Hell, you probably stole my shit.”
“Me? Me? Ron, I have two functioning eyes. Why the hell would I steal an eye patch?”
“Cause you’re a dirty, no good thief.”
“Ron, you have two functioning eyes, so why the hell do you have an eye patch anyway?”
“Cause I do, asshole. Now give it here and I’ll be on my way.”
“Alright, Ron. Enough. Get out, or I’ll call security to get you out.”
“You’re one rotten mother fucker. Alright. Alright. I’m leaving. But if I see you on the street with my patch, I’m whipping your ass.”
“Good enough, Ron. I’ll take that chance.”
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-Hey, you Rolando?
-Yeah, you Mike?
-You got it, man. Hop in.
-Skokie Yellow Line?
-Yeah. I’m trying to catch the last train.
-That’s cool. That’s cool, bro. I got you.
-Thanks. It leaves in 10 minutes.
-Ok, let me just get this GPS cooking here…
-Nah, man. I’ll tell you how to get there. It’s a five minute drive.
-Turn left here and keep straight for a mile.
-Nice. Got my own human GPS. Barry White option with that deep ass voice. “Turn left here, baby. ”
-Yeah. Glad you like it.
-So why are you coming from the police station? You a cop or something?
-I’m not a cop.
-Ok, Ok. Super secretive job at the police station. Can’t talk about it. I get it.
-Dude, I’m not a cop.
-That’s what cops usually say when they are a cop, you know, ‘hey, man, it’s cool, I’m not a cop.’
-No, I’m actually not a cop.
-Alright, officer. No need to break your cover. We don’t have to talk about it anymore.
-Why would I be undercover taking an Uber to the train stop? Maybe I just want to catch the last train home and want you focused on driving and not talking about my job.
-Whoa, bro, easy. I’ll get you there. I got you.
-I don’t want to be a dick, but I don’t want to talk and you aren’t driving with enough sense of urgency.
-Hey, bro, just because you’re some top secret cop, doesn’t mean I can go barreling down the road endangering human lives, and shit.
-I’m not a cop. I just don’t want to miss my train.
-Whatever, man. I’m just trying to be a civil fucking human being.
-My bad, man. I just want to get home. It’s been a long day.
-And you don’t think I don’t? I’ve been on these streets for 10 hours, bro. Hustling.
-I get you. Again, my bad. I wasn’t trying to be a dick.
-Whatever, bro. It’s all good.
-Thanks. Take a right at the light, train stop is six blocks up on the left.
-There goes Barry again, “Take a right at the light, baby.” Awesome.
-Yeah, I should look into getting a voice over job for a GPS company.
-Yeah you should, bro. Yeah you should.
-I’ll jump out here. It’s up on the left. Thanks, man. And sorry about the whole thing.
-No problem, super top secret officer. Stay safe out there, or frosty, or keep your head on a swivel, or whatever super top secret officers do.
-I’m not a cop!
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A couple weeks back, TTC boss and media mogul, Benny Jay, broke the news that our main man, Milo, (AKA The Serbian Prince, AKA Milo The Don, AKA Milo Don’t Give Two Shits, AKA Milo, And What, Mother Fucker???!!!) had a little situation that landed him in the hospital and in serious condition.
But that tough, stubborn, old bastard made it out relatively ok and is recovering.
And I have to tell ya, the staff at TTC couldn’t be happier. Seriously, even Little Bobby, the office intern that Milo uses as his personal “butler”–Milo’s words not mine–was happy to hear his boss was doing alright.
There was a time a few weeks back where we weren’t really sure what the hell to think.
When Milo didn’t show up to work those first few days, no one thought anything of it. We all figured he was on another one of his impromptu Tijuana trips he’d always go on from time to time.
He’d start off at his weekend poker game on the Northside and some how end up in Mexico by the end of the weekend playing high-stake poker with cartel bosses.
Eventually, usually by mid week, he’d stumble into the office wearing a linen suit and a fedora, sporting an impeccable tan with his pockets jammed full with wads of cash, or the ocassional kilo of Colombian pure cocaine.
“Where the fuck have you been, asshole?” Benny Jay would ask when he finally showed up.
“Tijuana, cabron,” Milo would reply.
“Well you plan on doing any work around here?”
“Don’t hate me cause I’m killing the game, bro. Hate the game, mother fuckers,” he’d say as he walked past us before locking himself in his office for the rest the day. We could only imagine that he was in there sleeping it off, but every once in a while we’d hear one side of an argument, where Milo, in perfect Spanish, would be cursing someone else out.
Little Billy, the office intern, had a theory that Milo was fighting in his sleep. But no one was able to confirm this by going into his office and seeing for themselves, for fear of being knifed.
A week into his absence, we began to worry a little.
“Where the fuck is Milo?” Benny Jay would say as he poked his head into Milo’s office. “What kind of shit did he get himself into with those Mexican cartel assholes now?”
No one had an answer, but we all feared the worst.
Thankfully, our main man, Milo, (AKA Milo Ain’t Nothing Sweet, AKA Milo Luck Ain’t Got Shit To Do With It, AKA Milo Fuck You, Pay Me)is ok.
We wish you a speedy recovery so you can get back to giving them hell.
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-Hello, mam. What brings you to the ER today?
–I feel sick.
-Ok, sick how?
-Well, I’d think you would. Why are you here?
–Where do I start?
-Let’s try with why you came to the ER today.
–Two weeks ago I’m on my way to my sister’s house for lunch. I wanted to have lunch at the deli over on Dempster, you know, the place that has those amazing sandwiches, but she insisted I go to her house. Why she insisted? I don’t know….
-Mam, can we focus on why you’re here today? What’s going on with you?
–I’m getting to that. Don’t rush me.
-I’m not, it’s just that we’re really busy. I need you to tell me why you’re here so we can help you.
– So, like I was saying, I’m on my way to my sister’s house and I stop by the dry cleaners to drop off some of my husband’s shirts–you know, because he’s so busy in his retirement that he can’t drop off his own dry cleaning. God help me, the man is useless.
-Mam, really, let’s get to why you decided to come here. Not two weeks ago. Not yesterday, but today.
–It’s all part of the reason why I’m here. Will you stop interrupting me already? Jeez I thought you were supposed to make me feel better. You’re making me worse with all this aggravation.
-Mam, I’m just trying to understand why you’re here today.
–And I’m trying to tell you, but you keep butting in. Let me finish, will you?
-I apologize, mam. It’s just that you are in the Emergency Room and we are dealing with emergencies. I’m just trying to manage it all in a timely manner, but, please, continue.
–Thank you. So I stop off at the cleaners and drop off my husband’s shirts. I’m pulling out of the parking lot when this punk on a bike cuts right in front of me and scares the life out of me. I slam on the breaks, my purse goes flying off the passenger’s seat and my seat belt locks up and slams across my chest, knocking the wind out of me.
-So you’re here for chest pain related to that incident.
–No. No. You’re not listening.
-Ok, so again, why are you here?
–Let. Me. Finish.
–I gather myself and head to my sister’s and we have lunch. I tell her about the whole thing. She can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. The nerve of this punk–darting out in front of me like that. He’s lucky I didn’t kill him.
-Yes he is, mam…
–So I get home later and tell my husband what’s what. I mean, I’m really tearing into him. It was his fault that I nearly killed someone. He’s going to start taking his own damn shirts to the cleaners. I’m not his slave.
-No, you are not, mam…
–And you know what he tells me?
–It’s all my fault cause I’m a bad driver. A bad driver!
-Mam, please, I really need to move on.
–So that brings me to why I’m here today. I’m just so upset about it all that I’ve developed a terrible headache. I mean, something really horrible. Is there anything you can do for it?
-Sure there is. Just wait here and I’ll be back just as soon as I can. We’re going to bump you up to our number one priority….
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