Chicago Tollbooth

by Siouxzin Handschiegel

I’m the kind of woman who always has chipped nail polish and a pimple on my nose. Sometimes I don’t shave my legs for months.

I’m running away.

I’m going to get lost in Chicago. Most people pick Mexico, but I don’t like the food and I don’t speak Spanish, besides. Some people pick New York City, but I can’t. That’s where I’m running from.

New York is a big place, for an island. A cold, inhumane place, for being so heavily populated (it takes a village to steal an entertainment center). Also, the NYPD. Pick you up for jaywalking and the next thing you know, your court appointed informs you you’re up on first degree. Nope, I think Chicago is big and far enough. I hope so.

I killed my boyfriend.

I could tell you it was self-defense and that he deserved it, but I’d probably be lying. I do that sometimes all the time. I’m on the bus now.  You’d be surprised how cheap it is. The guy next to me is sharing his Jack Daniels and he showed me what’s hidden under his eye patch. It’s a perfectly functioning eye, if you’re interested.

I think this could be a new start for me. Maybe I’ll get a job in a diner, meet a nice guy and come home every night. Tired and content and smelling of french fries and milk. I could bring a big greasy bag of food with me. My boyfriend would hug me and set up paper plates on a beer crate. We’d eat and drink some Mad Dog 20/20 before retiring to our mattress.

Maybe we’d fuck or make love and then hold each other all night. Yeah, I think Chicago is going to be the beginning of something nice. Who says you always need to bring yourself with you. Things are going to be different.


Siouxzin is a stereotyical, Gen X, punk rock, waster writer. Usually, she is paid for her writing in beer and Marlboros.
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