Hawaiian Noir

Murder Calls

What I’m Reading

Chimichangas and a Couple of Glocks by David H. Hendrickson. Guns + Tacos, Season 3, Episode 15.

Fuller Park sits in the heart of Chicago’s killing zone. A trip down there, at night, puts your life at risk. But for Lizzie, it is life-changing. For there, at Fuller Park, is a certain taco truck, whose “special” can be life-saving, or life-taking, or both. Lizzie knows the danger, but, desperate to save the man she thinks she loves, she is willing to risk it all. Lizzie is a life-long victim of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Hendrickson navigates us through the pit of Lizzie’s personal hell from which there is only one way out. Will she be up to it? The reader can only sit back and hang on as this ride takes you through one dark turn after another. Get on board! You won’t regret it. Savor this spicy dish smothered in noir, violence on the side.

I’ll have more on the Hawai’i trip in a later post. This weekend we are in Chicago. Mary Fran visited some of her childhood friends. Ted, Mike, and I went to a Cubs and Cards game at Wrigley Field. We took the L to Wrigley. It was about an hour ride from our hotel. The L is an experience. When it gets to the Northside, it goes past apartments that are right next to the tracks, just like in The Blues Brothers. After getting off the L, we battled the crowds at Wrigleyville and made it to Al’s Beef, about two blocks from the field, for their famous Italian beef sandwiches. They were worth the effort to get there. 

The friendly confines of Wrigley Field. I’d been there years before for game. Mike had been with us, but he was very young and remembered little of it. Ted had never been, but Wrigley was on his bucket list. The Cardinals are contending for a wild card spot, but the Cubs are out. Because of that, tickets were easy to get and half of the stadium appeared to be wearing red.

We had great seats under the roof, second level, third base side. It was an exciting game with some exchanges in home runs early on. The Cubs and Cards were tied up through the middle innings, but then, in the eighth, a double play with a play at the plate and a rundown between 2nd and 3rd took the wind out of the Cubs. The cards scored a couple of runs and won 8-5. We went back out to Wrigleyville and found a bar showing the Aggie game on TV. Such a let down. We took the L back to the hotel and picked up a Chicago-style deep dish pizza from Giordano’s. 

Deep dish pizza is not my favorite. I prefer extra-thin crust. The deep dish had too much dough to my liking. Despite that, Giordano’s Chicago classic was pretty good. It was like a layered dish. Mozzarella on the bottom, pepperoni, more mozzarella, peppers, onions and sausage, pizza sauce on top. So thick that one slice was enough. 

Ted left the next day. Mary Fran, Mike, and i drove through Mary Fran’s old neighborhood, past her old home near Marquette Park and then past the University of Chicago. We caught Lake Shore drive and took it past Soldier’s Field, the museums, Navy Pier, as far north as Loyola University. Then we went back to Millennium Park.Michigan Ave., north of the river, was closed to traffic for an art festival. the festival was disappointing, but underneath the Plaza of the Americas, on lower Michigan, we found The Billy Goat Tavern. 

The Billy Goat is famous for the curse put on the Cubs by the owner who was refused entrance to Wrigley Field with his billy goat. The curse was lifted when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, but the tavern remains below the street. Beers are $5, cheezborgers are $6. Decor does not appear to have changed since the 1960’s. 

After leaving Billy Goat, we continued the driving tour with a stop at La Villita Park near the Little Village section of the Southside. La Villita was the setting for my story Dos Tacos Guatemaltecos y Una Pistola Casera. I had been there only virtually on Google Earth, so I wanted to see it for real. A surprise to me is that it is higher than the surrounding area, which doesn’t make a difference to the story. It is also nicer than I expected it to be, with well-maintained paths and fields. A soccer game was in progress. A lot of families had set up chairs and canopies. I located a spot where a taco truck might park. I also saw, to my surprise, that the park borders Cook County Jail. Again, that doesn’t make a difference to the story.

We drove past Comiskey Park, home of the White Sox. Mary Fran said seeing Soldier’s Field, Wrigley Field, and Comiskey Park is the sports trifecta. The neighborhood around Comiskey is depressed. It turns out that Fuller Park, the location of the story at the beginning of this post, is near Comiskey. Since we had earlier been to Millennium Park, where Gary Philips set his Guns + Tacos story, you could say we hit the Guns + Tacos trifecta—Millennium, La Villita, and Fuller.

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