You’ve nearly made it. You followed the clues, outwitted a criminal mastermind, and made the intimate acquaintance of a good-looking redhead, meanwhile surviving a car trash, a train wreck, and a night in the slammer. The treasure you seek is so close you can almost taste it—although, really, who wants to taste a million bucks in small, unmarked bills? That kind of money smacks of the unrealized dreams of ten thousand bums, grifters, and no-hopers, the kind of mooks who bet the mortgage on a trifecta whose odds can be measured by the distance to the moon and back.
But we digress. As we countdown to Booklist‘s Mystery Month, which starts tomorrow, we’ve been sharing old favorites from the archives. Your humble narrator isn’t exactly impartial about the next one, but since when is self-promotion a crime?
Reading Is My Business
By Keir Graff
There are 10,000 galleys in the naked city, and all our hung-over reviewer has to do is find one of them—in the first ever short fiction to be published in Booklist.
I woke up somewhere under the Loop. I was lying across two handicapped seats in a southbound Red Line train. I got off at the next station, crossed the platform, and got on a train going north. The people in my car looked as miserable as only Chicagoans in late February can look. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window. I made the miserable people look like they were at Mardi Gras.
I got off at Chicago Avenue and rode the escalators up to the street. On the second one, I became fascinated by a guy who stopped walking 10 feet from the top and stood poised like he was about to jump out of an airplane. He didn’t look like a tourist, but you never can tell. He made the landing, but I can’t say the same for myself. I was so busy watching him that I stumbled where the escalator met the sidewalk and fell headlong. I’m a pretty big guy, so I think it made an impression.