and now for something completely freaky

Okay, first up: TONIGHT is a BIG night folks! RED SCARE INDUSTRIES’ OFFICIAL DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION FOR PUBLIC HAPPINESS at Risque Café where we’ll be having a sneak peak advance listening party for the Brokedowns awesomely weird new record “Species Bender” (which I think is a reference to being a dog and dressing up like a pig to attract cats or something) AND we’ll have guest DJing by label Premier, Tobias Jeg (for real this time, it was a miscommunication last week) AND we’re gonna premiere the new JBTV static age with live in studio performance and interviews from Against Me! And an Alkaline Trio interview along with a ton of other cool “punk shit” (if they can get the show finished in time, that is). This shit gets started at 9 with a power hour so outrageous that it will melt your face, so don’t be a turd! Get down to Risque Café tonight (Sheffield and clark) because this time there’s actually shit going on, kay?

Okay, on to the real stuff. Yesterday morning I woke up around 730 only to find that one of our recycling bins was super full. It was the one for glass, and when it gets full it gets heavy as shit. I decided that I’d cruise it down really fast just because my wife was still home so she could deal with the kids while I struggled down the stairs and into the alley with this gigantic bag of bottles. I never take the garbage down first thing in the morning. EVER. This was a highly unusual move and as I got to the gate, opened it and started dumping my glass into the recycle dumpster (wearing only gym shorts, mind you) I noticed that a man in his fifties was approaching me with a huge dog on a leash.
Now, I’d only been awake for about ten minutes at this point and this guy was getting pretty close and the whole thing was so unexpected that when he started talking to me, even if he had said something normal like “nice day, huh?” or “can I borrow 27 cents so I can get some food for my dog?” I would have probably just stared blankly at him. BUT, instead in a quiet voice, almost whispering in my ear, he said “did you know him?” and the look that I gave him must have been priceless, because I had absolutely no fucking clue what was going on.

So after what seemed like about forty five seconds of silent mutual staring, he just points behind me to the el tracks. I live right next to the train and the block of tracks by me is really low because it descends from regular elevated height to street level. The zone beneath the tracks is all wild grass and it’s a little future primitive and dorky nerd type people like to shoot music videos and experimental films down there. It’s fairly cool looking, I guess, but today a big section of it RIGHT outside my back gate was taped off with yellow tape. There were four Chicago police SUV’s parked at the perimeter. There were cops talking to a guy and there was, inside the taped off area, a little chair and a table with a coke bottle sitting on it, something hanging from the trestle and a corpse on the ground covered in a sheet. I don’t know how I hadn’t noticed it right away.

So, here’s the scene. It’s seven thirty in the morning. I’m in my gym shorts and nothing else and there’s a corpse right at my back door. The guy with the dog said “yeah, I guess he was out here all night and then just a little bit ago he hung himself from the tracks.” And I said something like “uh…oh. My. God.” And kind of just stared at the scene for a second and then I went upstairs and had some coffee. By the time I came down with my kids for a cruise around the hood, everything was gone. No tape, no corpse and shroud, no noose from the tracks, no little table and chairs and coke bottle. It was like nothing had happened. If I hadn’t taken down the recycling, I’d have never known that someone publically hanged themself not ten feet from my house yesterday morning. How’s that for crazy?

It’s crazy. Lemme tell you, man. That shit is super dark. In the words of my neighbor “go get a beer and do something you like. Nothing’s that bad.” Now, I don’t know if that’s really true, but yeah. Yipes. If you’re having dark thoughts there are people out there to talk to. There’s 1800SUICIDE if nothing else, and that place is staffed by people who care and know what you’re going through. I dunno…this wasn’t supposed to be a PSA about suicide but um…that’s what happens when someone’s night of chilling under the tracks leads to a morning of him swinging under the tracks, so yeah.
Love you guys. Be careful out there. The world is kind of scary sometimes.

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