Street Smart Chicago

Starry Trek: On a cold and drizzling Saturday Night

City Life, Essays & Commentary, Food & Drink, Pilsen Add comments

You tell your buddy before it all begins: “Tonight something bad is going to happen, I can feel it.” He tells you that you say that every night. You tell him that tonight, you mean it.

Skylark, in Pilsen, ensues. Second Fridays, and the room, packed to gills, reeks of art and dirty hair and dripping pints of PBR. Greasy tater tots in the distance. Too crowded to sit, too depressed to stand. A recent heartbreak has got you fragile in the knees and hips, not to mention the head.

“We gotta go,” you announce, and it’s off to Danny’s Tavern to dance it out of your system. Your sister and her friends are there, to your great surprise. So is an old college friend and a professor from your school days. You never anticipated the weight of this barrage of memory. John Herndon’s DJing, but the dancing doesn’t work.

Your friend wants to go to a party just down Damen, you convince him otherwise. It’s nearly 3am, Marie’s Riptide it is, and it’s relatively empty, save for a few basketfuls of drunkards, one of which grabs your ass as you pass to your seat at the bar. A woman overhears your self-pity and injects herself, tells you that you look Greek. Is she? “Look at me,” she slurs. “I’m Polish.”

You put your jacket down to save your stool as you venture to the boy’s room. Upon return, a goateed man hovers over your seat. He apologizes in an inebriated blur of syllables. You recognize him. It’s Mancow. How the mighty fall. (Ben Bailey)

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