Reader to Reader | Essay | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » Essay

Reader to Reader

by and

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


The other morning I was walking down Damen toward the el stop at North Avenue. A man was walking toward me. When we were about 20 feet apart, both our eyes fixed on the same thing at the same time--a $10 bill lying on the sidewalk. Now only steps away, we glanced at each other, wondering if the other saw the money.

I picked up the ten-spot and said, "The only fair thing to do is split it."

He scoffed, saying, "Oh man, like I need the money."

"You have $5?" I asked.

He dug into his pocket and pulled out a five. I grabbed it and gave him the ten. We went our separate ways.

--Carla Beecher

Everyone on the train to the racetrack had their noses in the racing form. But their concentration was disrupted by a loudmouth guy bragging about the big money he bet, won, and lost. Apparently he treated cash like a handful of confetti.

A man hawking tip sheets entered the car, trailed by a vendor selling pencils.

"Hey General!" yelled the loudmouth to the vendor.

"Pencil, sir?"


"Yes sir," said the vendor as he handed the guy two pencils. "That'll be 40 cents--20 cents apiece."

"Are you frigging nuts?" said the loudmouth. "Twenty cents for a frigging pencil?" He handed one of the pencils back to the vendor along with two dimes. Then he turned toward his friend sitting next to him and broke the pencil in half, handing one piece to his friend while keeping the other half for himself.

--Edward G. Bergstrom

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →